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Iodern Cremation 

its History and Practice 

j^ BpBMlM 



The Harvey Cuihing Fund 







■jdon: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt ,, 



Price One Shilling. 







iTHgR with a Paper bv Sir T. Spencer Whlls, Bart., 



Charge by Sir Jamrs Stephen, on the same 

London: Smith, Elder & Co. 










SIR H. THOMPSON, F.R.C.S., M.B. Lond., etc. 







( Tfie rights 0/ translation and of reproduction are reserved.} 


A SECOND edition of "Modern Cremation" being 
required, I have remodelled and enlarged the 
work, issuing it in a form designed to place it 
within the reach of all who care to be acquainted 
with the subject. 

I republish therewith my earliest writings on 
the subject, which appeared seventeen years ago, 
as the facts there adduced, and the arguments 
based upon them, are in no respect changed 
since that time. Moreover, I learn, from the 
numerous applicants who write me for informa- 
tion, that it is still as necessary as ever to 
explain the sanitary laws which must inevitably 
render cremation (or some method of disposing 
of the dead other than burial) sooner or later 
most desirable, if not necessary, in a country so 
densely populated as our own. By means of 
this and other additions, I hope to render the 

viii Preface. 

present edition a more complete epitome of 
the subject than the original work was designed 
to be. 

The work is divided into four parts. 

The First Part consists of a brief historical 
sketch of the rise and progress of modern cre- 
mation in England, with reference also to the 
development of the system on the Continent. 

The SECOND Part contains the earliest writ- 
ings referred to above, without any change from 
the original form in which they appeared. 

The Third Part considers and discusses the 
chief objection still urged against cremation, 
viz. that founded on the possibility of destroy- 
ing by its action, traces of poison in the body 
cremated. The appointment of an inspector to 
examine and certify to the cause of death in 
ever)- case, whether designed for burial or cre- 
mation, is strongly advocated, following the pre- 
cedents of France and other continental states. 
And the conditions are formulated by which the 
practice of cremation should in future be regu- 
lated. The organization of the Cremation 
Society ; the list of its officers, its objects ; the 
requirements and directions necessary to be 
known by those who desire to employ crema- 
tion, are fully set forth. 

Preface. ix 

The Fourth Part explains the system 
adopted for the purpose of inspecting the dead 
body, of obtaining evidence as to the cause, 
before certifying, together with copies of all in- 
structions and schedules employed, — in every 
case of death throughout France. 


35, Wimpole Street, London, 
April, 1 89 1. 


Historical Sketch of Modern Cremation in England i~44 


A paper on Cremation, published by the author in the 
Contemporaiy Review , 1874; followed in two months 
by a second paper, entitled "A Reply to Critics, and 
an Exposition of the Process," in the same Review 45-106 


The Argument for Cremation, based on a large experience 

gained between 1874 and the present date 107-135 


Official instructions issued by the Cremation Society of 
England — Method of procedure in investigating the 
cause of death in France 136-164 





The brief historical outline which I design to History 0/ 

. r , . , r . cremation 

make of the rise and progress of cremation in movement 
England during the last seventeen years, reckon- d ™"f !ast 
ing from the commencement of 1874, will he> ,,!ars - 
incomplete without an allusion to what the 
modern reaction in favour of cremation had 
achieved on the continent shortly before the 
date named. The proposal to adopt it in recent practical 
times originally proceeded mainly from Italy, "^«T«f 
Papers and monographs appeared commending in!lal y- 
the method as early as 1866, but practical ex- 
perimenters, Gorini and Polli, published sepa- 
rately the results of their experiments in 1872 ; 
and among others, Professor Brunetti, of Padua, 
in 1873 detailed his experience, exhibiting the Resuas 
results of it in the form of ashes, etc., with a ^^L 
model of his furnace, at the Great Exhibition at E ^' Htim - 
Vienna of that year, 

2 Modern Cremation. 

I first became practically acquainted with the 
subject on seeing his collection there, and studied 
it with great interest. I had long believed that 
cremation was in theory the quickest and safest 
mode of reducing the dead body to its original 
elements — the end attained slowly, and not with- 
out danger to the living, by burial in earth. But 
I now satisfied myself for the first time that, if 
not by this apparatus, yet by some other, com- 
plete and inoffensive combustion of the body 
might almost certainly be effected without diffi- 

BruHctti. culty. Brunctti's first cremation took place in 
1869, his second and third in 1870, and were 
performed in an open furnace out of doors. The 
results were effectively displayed and illustrated 
by written descriptions, plans, and drawings. 

In no other European country had any act of 
human cremation taken place, as far as I can 
learn, prior to 1874; and very little notice or in- 
formation respecting it appeared in any literary 

Dr. putra form. Dr. de Pietra Santa, the well-known 

'/„,,'' sanitary authority of Paris, reported the Italian 
cases in a little brochure on the subject in 1873, 
according his hearty support to the practice. 
But in the autumn of 1874 there appears to 

Brcsiauand have been a solitary example at Breslau ; while 

Dresden. . . 

another occurred almost immediately afterwards 
at Dresden, where an English lady was cremated 
in a Siemens' apparatus by the agency of gas. 

Modern Cremation. 3 

No repetition of the process has taken place 
there since. 

Being thoroughly convinced of the value of 
the method as a sanitary reform, at once pressing 
and important, I ventured to bring the subject Author's 
before the English public for the first time, by f2L .„/ 
writing an article which appeared in the Content- crtmat ' m • 
porary Review in January, 1874, entitled " Cre- 
mation : the Treatment of the Body after Death." 
And I advocated the plan there set forth, based 
on the Italian trials referred to, and further illus- 
trated by several experimental cremations made 
by myself in powerful furnaces, on animals, both 
in London and Birmingham, at the same date. 
On the results thus obtained, I felt justified \\\sh>wntoU 
asserting the superiority of a complete cremation 
at all events, to any method by burial in the 
soil.* The reason assigned for taking this step 
was my belief, supported by a striking array of 
facts, that cremation was becoming a necessary 
sanitary precaution against the propagation of 
disease among a population rapidly increasing, 
and daily growing larger in relation to the area 
it occupies. 

The degree of attention which this proposal PuWc 
aroused was remarkable, not only here, but arms*i, 
abroad, the paper being translated into several 
European languages. In the course of the first 
* See Part II., pp. 87-90 for description of these experiments. 

4 Modern Cremation. 

six months of that year, I received eight hundred 
letters on the subject, from persons mostly un- 
known to me, requiring objections to be an- 
swered, explanations to be given, supposed 
consequences to be provided for ; some, indeed, 
accompanied with much criticism on the " pagan," 
and not or " anti-Christian," tendency of the plan. I was 
"unfucndiy- encouraged, however, to find that a considerable 
number were more or less friendly to the pro- 
posal. But I confess I had been scarcely pre- 
pared to expect that people in general would be 
so much startled by it, as if it were a novelty 
hitherto unheard of. Long familiar with it in 
thought myself, cherishing a natural preference 
for the manifest advantages it offers, on sanitary 
grounds, to burial, and, after thoughtful compari- 
son, on all considerations governed by feeling or 
sentiment, the opposition manifested appeared to 
me curiously out of proportion with the impor- 
tance of certain interests or predilections I had 
Kigardtdat perhaps underestimated. Even the few who 
■which approved yielded for the most part a weak assent 
to the confident assertion of a host of opponents 
that, whatever might be the fate of the theory, 
any realization of it could never at all events 
occur in our time. To use a phrase invented 
since that date, the proposal was not regarded as 
coming within the range of a practical policy. 
at ame n- At some future day, when the world's population 

Modern Cremation. 5 

had largely increased, we might possibly be ,„„/, m m 
driven to submit to such a process, but, thank "pltuZiiy 
Heaven ! the good old-fashioned resting-place " sr/ "'- 
in the churchyard or cemetery would amply 
suffice to meet all demands for several future 
generations still. 

To some of the natural and practical objec- some active 
tions, especially those which had been urged by""u™T y 
men of experience, weight, and position, entitled 
to be listened to with respect and attention, I 
endeavoured to reply in a subsequent article 
which appeared two months later in the same 
journal. This paper follows the original one, 
and constitutes with it Part II. of this work. 

Meantime, during January and March, 1874, a 
few persons interested in the subject met at my 
house, and agreed to form a society for the pur- A cremat ; on 
pose of advocating cremation. The declaration s ° c,e ' y , 

A ° proposed. 

now used was there drawn up on the 13th of 
January, and signed by them. The first to do so 
were " Shirley Brooks, William Eassie, Ernest 
Hart, the Rev. H. R. Haweis, G. H. Hawkins, 
John Cordy Jeaffreson, F. Lehmann, C. F. Lord, 
W. Shaen, A. Strahan, Henry Thompson, Major 
Vaughan, Rev. C. Voysey, T. Spencer Wells, and 
Mrs. Crawshay ; " and these subsequently formed 
the committee. 

The society was " formally constituted at a 
meeting on April 29th, after which a provisional 

6 Modern Cremation. 

committee was at once formed ; Sir H. Thomp- 
son elected president, and to act as its chairman;" 
the annual subscription fixed at a guinea ; Mr. 
Eassie appointed secretary, and acting thus for 
the first time at this meeting. He had previously 
assisted me in dealing with most of the volumi- 
nous correspondence referred to, and, as a sani- 
tary engineer, took much interest in our 
proceedings. Four of the above-named gentle- 
men have since died ; the others, with three 
exceptions, still remain on the council of the 
The Engiiti society. Such was the origin of " The Cremation 
SK&ty" Society of England." It was organized expressly 
formed m f or j-j le p U1 -p OSC f disseminatiner information on 

Afinl, 1874. ft- fc. 

the subject, and of adopting the best method of 
performing the process as soon as this could be 
determined, provided that the act was not con- 
trary to law. In this society 1 have had the 
honour of holding the office of president from 
the commencement to the present date, endea- 
vouring thus to serve a most able and efficient 
council, most of whom have been fellow -workers 
during the same period. I am thus well ac- 
quainted with its labours and their results, and 
with each step in its history. 

The membership of the society was consti- 
tuted by subscription to the following declara- 
tion, carefully drawn so as to ensure approval of 
a principle, rather than adhesion to any specific 
practice : — 

Modern Cremation. 7 

" We disapprove the present custom of bury- Declaration 
ing the dead, and desire to substitute some ***** 
mode which shall rapidly resolve the body into 
its component elements by a process which can- 
not offend the living, and shall render the 
remains absolutely innocuous. Until some 
better method is devised, we desire to adopt 
that usually known as cremation." 

And the conditions of membership are : — The am- 

I. — Adhesion by signature to the above WemLlshi/,. 

II. — The payment of an annual subscription 
of one guinea, or a single payment of ten 
guineas, which latter confers the right to cre- 
mation at death, without fee, if a written notice 
is signed by the subscriber and deposited with 
the society when the subscription is made. 

The council of the society commenced opera- Legal 

1 ... ..... opinions 

tions by submitting a case to legal authorities taken. 

of high standing, and received two opinions, 

maintaining that cremation of a human body 

was not an illegal act, provided no nuisance of 

any kind was occasioned thereby. Thus advised, 

an arrangement was soon after concluded with 

the directors of one of the great cemeteries search for a 

north of London to erect on their property a 

building in which cremation should be effectively 

performed. This site, so appropriate for its 

purpose, and so well placed in relation to neigh- 


Modern Cremation. 

II 'oklHg 

telet ted, 

and a free- 




and erected 
ly himself 
Mr. Eassie. 

bou ring property, etc., would have been at once 
occupied, had not the then Bishop of Rochester, 
within whose jurisdiction the cemetery lay, 
exercised his authority by absolutely prohibiting 
the proposed addition. 

It was necessary, therefore, to find an inde- 
pendent site, and the council naturally sought 
it at Woking, since railway facilities for the 
removal of the dead from the metropolitan 
district already existed in connection with the 
well-known cemetery there. Accordingly, in 
the year 1878, an acre of freehold land in a 
secluded situation was purchased, with the view 
of placing thereupon a furnace and apparatus 
of the most approved kind for effecting the 

After much consideration it was decided to 
adopt the apparatus designed by Professor 
Gorini, of Lodi, Italy ; and that gentleman 
accepted an invitation to visit this country for 
the express purpose of superintending the 
erection of it, and the plan was successfully 
carried out in 1879 by the late Mr. Eassie, 
already named as our honorary secretary. 

When the apparatus was finished, it was 
tested by Gorini himself, who reduced to ashes 
the body of a horse, in presence of several 
members of the council, with a rapidity and 
completeness which more than fulfilled their 

Modem Cremation. 9 

expectations. This experiment foreshadowed 
the result which numerous actual cremations 
have since realized, namely, that by this process 
complete combustion of an adult human body 
is effected in from one to two hours, and is so what a 
perfectly accomplished that no smoke or effluvia pushes. 
escapes from the chimney ; every portion of 
organic matter being reduced to harmless gases 
and a pure white, dry ash, which is absolutely 
free from disagreeable character of any kind. 
Indeed, regarded as an organic chemical pro- 
duct, it must be considered as attractive in 
appearance rather than the contrary. The pro- 
cess, of course, is considerably lengthened if 
the body is enclosed in a thick shell or coffin, 
which has to be burned also. 

During the year 1879 the society met with opposition 

/~>/v- j to cremation 

strong opposition from the Home (Jmce, and a t the Home 
were involved in a long correspondence, not of^"'" 
sufficient interest to be presented here either 
wholly or in part. But it was the occasion of 
much labour and anxiety to the working mem- 
bers of the council, and of disappointment to 
their hopes : demanding moreover, on the score 
of prudence, a patient and quiescent policy on 
the part of the council, and delaying the use of 
the building for a few years. 

Nevertheless there was no reason why public 
attention to the proposed method should not be 

io Modern Cremation. 

British invited by other means. My friend Sir Spencer 

Aaxiatim Wells, one of the most active members of the 

,n isso, council, brought the subject prominently before 

the medical profession at the annual meeting 

of the British Medical Association at Cambridge 

in August, 1880, and, after a forcible statement 

of facts and arguments, proposed to forward an 

application address to the Secretary of State, asking per- 

addmsedto m ; ss j on to use t t ie crematory under strict reeu- 

the /feme J o 

secretary- lations. This was largely signed and duly 

transmitted, achieving, however, no immediate 

result. But in various quarters, and at different 

times during this period, advocacy by means of 

essays, articles in journals, lectures, etc., had 

arisen spontaneously, no organization having 

The subject been set on foot for the purpose; several 

"S,/"" 1 members of the council, however, taking part in 

dixusstd: some f these proceedings.* And I desire to 

* A brief record of works issued chiefly by members of the 
council, affording trustworthy information to those who desire 
to be acquainted with modern literature on the subject, is given 

"Cremation : the Treatment of the Body after Death." By 
Sir Henry Thompson, F.R.C.S. London: 1S74. Contemporary 

"Burial or Cremation." By Dr. P. H. Holland. 1874. 
Contemporary Review. 

Sermon delivered at Westminster Abbey. By the Bishop of 
Lincoln. London : 1874. 

" Cremation, and its Bearings on Public Health." Illustrated 
By W. Eassie, C.E. London : Smith, Elder and Co. 1875. 

" Ashes to Ashes : A Cremation Prelude." By the Rev. 
H. R. Haweis, M.A. London: 1875. 

Modem Cremation. 1 1 

add that the share which Mr. Eassie, our honorary Mr.EaaUs 
secretary, whose sudden and recent death we v " e Zicel. 

" On the Disposal of the Dead." By Dr. Richardson, F.R.S. 
London : 1875. 

"A Contribution to the Subject of Cremation.'' By Dr. 
Albert J. Bernays, M.A. London : 1875. 

Cremation — Numerous Articles in British Medical Journal, 
Medical Record, and Sanitary Record. By Ernest Hart. 1875 
to present date. 

"Cremation, * Sanitary Institution." (Leamington Congress 
Reports.) By W. Eassie, C.E. London : 1S77. 

" The Asserted Loss of Ammonia caused by the Cremation of 
Bodies." By W. Eassie, C.E. Sanitary Record, January iS, 

Transactions of the Cremation Society, and Reports, from 
the earliest time to the present. 

"Cremation or Burial." By Sir T. Spencer Wells, Bart. 
Cambridge: 1880. 

" God's Acre Beautiful ; or, The Cemeteries of the Future." 
2nd Edition, enlarged ; with Engravings and Photographs of 
Urns, etc. By \V. Robinson, F.L.S. London: 1882. 

" Cremation in its Social and Sanitary Aspects." By the Rev. 
Brooke Lambert, M.A., B.C.L. Lewisham and Blackheath 
Scientific Association. 1883. 

"Cremation.'' By Dr. J. Comyns Leach. London ^1884. 

" Cremation : Transactions of International Health Ex- 
hibition." By W. Eassie, C.E. 1884. 

"Lecture on Cremation." By the Rev. Charles Voysey, 
M.A. Southampton : 1884. 

"Cremation," etc., a reprint. By Sir Henry Thompson. 
3rd Edition ; together with the " Paper on Cremation or Burial," 
by Sir T. Spencer Wells, Bart. ; and containing also the Charge 
of Sir James Stephen, at Cardiff, declaring Cremation legal. 
London : Smith, Elder and Co. 18S4. 

"Lecture on Cremation." By Sir T. Spencer Wells, Bart. 
Parkes Museum. April, 1885. 

" The Modern Cremation Movement." By Charles Cameron, 
M.D., LL.D., M.P. Paisley and London: Alexander Gardner. 

"Modern Cremation: its history and practice, with infor- 


Modern Cremation, 

C re mat 1011 
at Milan 
in a gas 

Milan Cre- 
Society in 

deeply deplore, took in this work, his ceaseless 
attention to the arranging of practical details 
at Woking, and the multifarious correspondence, 
etc., he conducted during fourteen years, demand 
a warm tribute Of grateful acknowledgment 
from me here, on the part of his late friends and 
colleagues on the council. 

Meantime the progress of cremation abroad 
may be again referred to. The first cremation 
of a human body effected in a closed receptacle, 
with the object of carrying off or destroying 
offensive products, with the exception of the 
Dresden example referred to, took place at 
Milan, in January, 1876, and was followed by 
another in April, the agent adopted being gas. 
The next occurring there, in March, 1877, was 
accomplished in like manner, but by employing 
ordinary fuel. It was in Milan also, in Sep- 
tember following, that the first cremation was 
performed by the improved furnace of Gorini, 
already mentioned. In the preceding year, 
1S76, the Cremation Society of Milan had been 
established, under the presidency of Dr. Pini, 
and it soon became popular and influential. 

mation relating to the recently improved arrangements made by 
the Cremation Society of England.'' By Sir Henry Thompson, 
F.R.C.S., M.B. London, President of the Society. London : 
Kegan Paul, Trench and Co. 1889. 

"Cremation and Urn-Burial; or, The Cemeteries of the 
Future." By \Y. Robinson, F.L.S. Cassell and Co. 1889. 

Modern Cremation. 13 

During that year a handsome building was 
erected with the view of using gas as the agent ; 
but it was subsequently enlarged, namely in 
1880, to make room for two Gorini furnaces. 
These were soon in operation, and since that GorinV* 
date many bodies have been burned every year, ^""tZ at 
the number up to the 31st of December, l8$6, fj^f" 1 
being 463. 

Similar buildings on a smaller scale have been others™ 
constructed, and largely employed elsewhere ; 
for example, at Lodi, Cremona, Brescia, Padua, 
Varese, and more lately at Rome, in the Campo 
Varano cemetery. This was first used in April, 
1883, since which date 123 cremations have been ««rf»«««&« 

t 1 r t^v cremated. 

performed there up to the 31st of December, 
1 886. The number of all cremations occurring in 
other towns, excluding Milan and Rome, up to 
the same date, is 202, making 788 for Italy alone. 

In Germany, the only place at which the Germany; 
practice has been regularly followed is Gotha. crematory 
A building was constructed there, under per- "^phyed. 
mission of the Government, the first cremation 
taking place in January, 1879. ^ nas been 
largely employed since, the number of cre- 
mations amounting to 473 up to the 31st of 
October, 1887.* Cremation societies, some of 

* As this work is passing through the press, I have received 
the following note from Germany : " L'incineration des restes 
du baron de Handel, qui a eu lieu a Gotha, dans la journe'e du 
15 Janvier, 1889, a ete la 6oo e ceremonie funebre de ce genre qui 
ait ete celebree dans cette ville." 


Modern Cremation. 






them with numerous members and displaying 
much activity, have been recently established 
in other countries ; in Denmark (where the first 
cremation in a Gorini apparatus took place in 
September, 1S86), in Belgium, Switzerland, 
Holland, Sweden, and Norway, and in varions 
parts of the United States, where also cremation 
has been employed on many occasions. In the 
rue Buffalo city of Buffalo a well-organized crematory has 
been established in the most beautiful part of 
the suburbs. Both externally and internally 
its arrangements are planned and executed in 
good taste, and its furnace is one of the most 
efficient kind. The system is growing in favour, 
and is more frequently adopted in each succes- 
sive year. 

In Australia, the Hon. J. M. Creed, a well- 
known physician in Sydney, has warmly ad- 
vocated the practice, which has numerous sup- 
porters there. He moved the second reading of 
a bill, to establish and regulate cremation, in 
the House of Assembly, June, 1886, in an able 
speech, pointing out the dangerous proximity 
of neighbouring cemeteries to their rapidly 
developing city, and giving instances in which 
great risk had been already incurred. He cited 
in illustration the occurrence of pestilence thus 
produced among the rapidly growing population 
in the suburbs of New York and other American 

an impor- 
tant move- 
ment \ 

Modern Cremation. 15 

cities. The act was approved by the Legis- 
lative Council, but failed to pass the House of 

In Paris, projects for performing cremation The Paris 

- . . c , r crematory. 

were discussed tor some years before one was 
adopted. At length, about four years ago, a 
crematory of considerable size was constructed 
under the direction of the municipal council, in 
the well-known cemetery of Pere la Chaise. The 
entrance of the building leads into a spacious 
hall, sufficing for the purposes of a chapel. In 
the side wall opposite the entrance are three 
openings, each conducting to an apparatus con- 
structed on the Gorini principle. It was first 
employed, byway of testing its powers, on the 
22nd of October, 1887, for the bodies of two men 
who died of small-pox. The result was very 
satisfactory, but as the demand for cremation 
soon became large, a new furnace was con- 
structed, and is now used in preference to 
those previously made. I had an opportunity 
of examining it, and of seeing several cremations 
performed there in April last. The interior of a 
chamber is kept constantly at a bright red heat, 
by burning coke in a closed reservoir outside, the 
products of which, chiefly carbonic oxide, pass 
through in a state of combustion and rapidly 
consume the body. This is now being super- 
seded by a chamber containing hot air only, 

1 6 Modern Cremation. 

supplied by a furnace working on the regenera- 
tory principle, which acts still more rapidly than 
the preceding. At the date of my visit, the 
cremations in Paris were taking place at the 
rate of about three or four hundred a month, and 
were increasing in number monthly. A total of 
more than three thousand had then been 
Animpor- I shall now return to the history of our own 
'ec'cumd in society, at a time when it was probable that 
J :" e '"'"*' active operations might once more be resumed. 
In 1882 the council was requested by Captain 
Hanham, Blandford, Dorsetshire, to undertake 
the cremation of two deceased members of his 
family, who had left express instructions to that 
effect. The Home Secretary of that day being 
applied to, reiterated objections which had been 
made three years before, and the society was 
unable to comply. The bodies had been pre- 
served for some years in a mausoleum on the 
estate, pending a favourable solution of the 
through the difficult)'. This failing, Captain Hanham took 
Cajtain leave to erect a crematorium there, and to carry 
Hanham. out; t ^ e w i s h es D f his relatives, and did so with 
complete success. This was in October, 1882. 
He himself dying about a year later, was cre- 
mated on the same spot at his desire, by a 
relative. The Government meantime made no 
sign ; no notice, in fact, was taken of the pro- 

Modern Cremation. i 7 

ceeding by any authority, although the occurrence 

was described in the public journals, and excited 

much comment. But in the following year aa«Wi 

cremation took place in Wales on the body of a%%Zcd" 

child, on which the ceremony was performed by s " c "' 

the father in defiance of the coroner's authority, 

and legal proceedings were taken against him in 

consequence. The result was that, in February, leading to 

1884, Mr. Justice Stephen, the case having come ^u/hen's' 

before him at the assizes, delivered his well-*""'""'" 

' 1884. 

known judgment, declaring that cremation is a 
legal procedure provided it be effected without 
nuisance to others. The council of the English 
society now decided on offering facilities for 
performing it, and to place their crematorium 
at the service of the public for practical use ; 
having first carefully considered the best means 
of taking precautions to prevent the destruction 
of a body which might have met death by unfair 

Only two months later, on the 30th of April, The nam 

r* n t-n *-i 1 1 r r* 1 y ear a blM 

1884, Dr. Cameron, the member for Glasgow, brinl gktinto 
and one of the council of our society, brought a r " rt """" 
bill into the House of Commons " to provide for 
the regulation of cremation and other modes of 
disposal of the dead." He proposed to make burial 
illegal without medical certificate, excepting for 
the present certain thinly populated and remote 

1 . to regulate 

districts. No crematory to be used until cremation, 


1 8 Modern Cremation. 

approved and licensed by the Secretary of State ; 
no body to be burned except at a licensed place, 
in accordance with regulations to be made by 
the Secretary of State. Two medical certificates 
to be necessary in the case of cremation, and if 
the cause of death cannot be certified, an inquest 
by the coroner shall be held. Dr. Cameron sup- 
ported the proposals, by an amount of evidence 
of various kinds which amply warranted the 
thmgiyiufi- course he had taken. Dr. Farquharson, M.I\ 
%iatt',aHd f° r Aberdeen, another member of the council, 
seconded the motion, which was opposed by the 
Home Secretary, to whom Sir Lyon Playfair 
made an able reply, demonstrating, by a com- 
parison of the chemical effects of combustion 
with those of slow decomposition in earth, the 
superiority of the former. The bill was opposed 
by the Government, and the leader of the oppo- 
sition took the same course ; nevertheless, no less 
by a large than 79 members voted in favour of the bill on 
the second reading, to 149 against — a result far 
more favourable then we had ventured to hope 
The English It was at this juncture that the English society 
m'midto" "issued a public notice, formulating certain con- 
Ttmltcry ditions on which they would undertake to 
employ the crematorium at Woking. They 
stated that great care and absolute compliance 
with their conditions were necessary, because 

Modern Cremation. 19 

" they arc aware the chief practical objection 
which can be urged against the employment of 
cremation consists in the opportunity which it 
offers, apart from such precautions, for removing 
the traces of poison or other injury which are 
retained by an undestroyed body." 

These conditions were expressed in the follow- demanding 

. compliance 

ing terms:— m - IA certllln 

1. An application in writing must be made by co "f' ims > 

11 ° J as follows : — 

the executors or nearest relative of the deceased *• neat- 

. plication. 

— unless it has been made in writing by the 
deceased person himself during life — stating that 
the deceased expressed no objection to be cre- 
mated after death. They must furnish the 
name of the medical man who has attended 
the deceased, in order that he may receive an 
official communication from the secretary before 

2. A certificate must be sent by a qualified 2. Tkccer- 
medical man, who, having attended the deceased 

until the time of death, can state without hesi- 
tation that the cause of death was natural, and 
what that cause was. Another qualified medical 
man, if possible a resident in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the deceased, is also required 
to certify, after independently examining the 
facts within his reach, that to the best of his 
belief the death was due to natural causes.* 

* See Part III. 

3. Fitrtlicr 
when neces- 

20 Modern Cremation, 

To each of these gentlemen is to be forwarded, 
before certifying, a letter of " instructions " 
marked " private," signed by the president of the 
society, calling special attention to the important 
nature of the service required. 

3. If no medical man attended during the ill- 
ness, an autopsy must be made by a medical 
officer appointed by the society, or the cremation 
cannot take place ; unless a coroner's inquest 
has been held, and has determined the cause of 
death to be natural. These conditions being ful- 
filled, the council of the society still reserve the 
right in all cases of refusing permission for the 
performance of cremation if they think it desir- 
able to do so.* 

Public attention had thus been called to the 
subject ; and the Woking crematory was used 
w'okingin for the first time on the 20th of March, 1885, 
two other cremations following in the course of 
the year. During 1886, ten bodies were burned, 
five male and five female, one of them that of a 
Brahmin. During 1887, thirteen bodies were 
burned, one only being that of a female. During 
1 888, twenty-eight bodies were burned, fifteen 
being female. During 1889, forty-six bodies 
were burned, nineteen being female. During 
1890, fifty-four bodies were burned, twenty-one 
being female ; and during the first twelve weeks 

* See Part III. 

mat ion at 

Modern Cremation. 2 1 

of 1891, twenty-three bodies were burned, seven a Mai of 
being female; a total since the beginning oiZlt"" 
one hundred and seventy-seven cremations. «*«»&• 

J seven 

The complete incineration is accomplished by cm " at '<"^ 

J lias I'ecji 

this apparatus without escape of smoke or other reached. 
offensive product, and with extreme ease and 
rapidity. The ashes, which weigh about three tu ashes 

_ arc carc- 

or four pounds, are placed at the disposal of va&fiMytre- 

r • i i,i i a f served for 

mends, in order to be removed. A vase ol /r ; cna - sof 
pottery, modelled after an ancient Roman cine- * ecaseA 
rary urn, is provided for the purpose without 
charge. This may be buried in the grounds of 
the crematorium, in a spot set apart, maintained 
and marked by a stone for a long term of years, 
on payment of a trifling fee. Or a niche in the 
hall of the crematorium may be secured on con- 
ditions which can be learned on application at the 
offices of the society. A large number of such 
cells or recesses, each capable of receiving an or- 
namental urn or sarcophagus, will be constructed 
in a cloister, which it is proposed shortly to 
build for the express purpose of providing a 
suitable receptacle for such deposits. Or, if 
desired, the ashes may be restored at once to 
the soil, being now perfectly innocuous, if that 
mode of dealing with them is preferred. One 
friend of the deceased may be present at the 
cremation, if written permission is first obtained 
from the honorary secretary of the society. 

22 Modern Cremation. 

Mode of Practically, what takes place when an applica- 

fnaedwg ^ CQr cremat ; on i ias been made is as follows :— 


mmatien u Evidence from the medical attendant of the 


deceased, as well as that of another and indepen- 
dent medical man, is obtained in writing. Their 
attention is called by letter to the importance of an 
inquiry respecting poison or violence as a cause 
of death. The forms containing it are in every 
case submitted to the president of the society, 
who, acting on behalf of the council, decides 
whether or not the cremation may take place. 
The papers being approved, the undertaker can 
remove the body in a hearse from any house or 
station within the four-mile radius from Charing 
Cross to the society's cemetery at Woking for a 
reasonable fixed sum. Or he can arrange for its 
transport, together with that of any number of 
friends and attendants desired, by rail, direct 
from Waterloo Station to Woking. 
RttoHmuif It is strongly recommended to all applicants 
that no large, heavy, or ornamental coffins should 
be employed for the purpose, but, on the contrary, 
only a thin, light, pine shell ; * as in the former 
case cremation cannot take place without re- 
moving the body, and in the latter there is no 
necessity to do so, and accordingly the practice 
is to burn the whole together. 

But, after a considerable experience of crema- 

* See Part III, 

to the 

Modern Cremation. 23 

tion both here and abroad, I do not hesitate to say 
that I greatly prefer the plan of completely en- 
veloping the body (already habited in the ordinary 
shroud) in a long narrow sheet, say 10 feet by 5, 
previouslyplaced lengthways over a simple empty 
shell. The last act before finally closing the shell Bc5 t method 
should be that of folding the sides of the sheet "* obHm 

° the body 

across the body, one overlapping the other, so as «""</*>«/ any 


to cover it entirely. Thus the folded ends of the 
sheet will extend some two feet or so, above and 
below the head and feet of the body respectively. 
Above each of these points, a piece of stout white 
tape or white web should be firmly tied round 
the folded sheet, and in two places round the 
covered body also, so as to maintain the sheet in 
its place. These ends are then turned over to- 
wards each other into the shell before the lid is 
adjusted and fastened. Immediately before the 
act of cremation commences, the shell should be secured 
opened, the body be carefully and reverently'"" 
lifted out of the shell by a bearer at each end of 
the sheet, a third supporting the centre, and be 
placed on the frame which enters the crema- 
torium. By this means the ashes of the body 
are not mixed with those of the shell, which must 
necessarily be the case if both are burned to- 
gether, requiring a tedious and somewhat im- 
perfect procedure to separate them. Moreover, 
the wood hinders and prolongs the work of 

2 4 Modern Cremation. 

cremation proper. The sheet may be made of 

cotton linen, or wool, but the latter is preferable, 

»w'„/ because its constituents are largely dissipated 

;, '' v/ ' in combustion, whereas the vegetable fibre yields 

and leaves a large quantity of carbon in the form 

of ash. In the draught of a powerful furnace, 

some of this fine matter is no doubt carried away. 

The charge made by the society for effecting 

cremation is moderate, and will be made less 

when the demand has considerably increased. 

At present the entire apparatus has to be put 

into action for a single cremation, involving an 

amount of labour and expenditure which would 

be only slightly exceeded for three or four 

repetitions of the process,* if they occurred 

during a single day. 

Engagement About four years ago, the council made public 

'fcrsom* tne following resolution, in the form of a " minute 

desiring to f counc ji " which after due consideration had 

ensure cre- 
mation at been passed : "In the event of any person desir- 
dcath; w , , . 

ing, during life, to be cremated at death, the 
society is prepared to accept a donation from 
him or her of ten guineas, undertaking, in con- 
sideration thereof, to perform the cremation 
without the customary fee, provided all the con- 
ditions set forth in the forms issued by the 
society are complied with." This payment 
moreover, constitutes the donor a life-member 
* See Part III. 

Modern Cremation. 25 

of the society, and he receives the annual report 
and all documents, etc., issued to the ordinary 
annual subscribers. 

A considerable number of persons have has hen 
adopted this course in order to express emphati- ^hlted. 
cally their wishes in relation to this matter, and 
to ensure as far as possible the accomplishment 
of them. The society undertakes to do their mw thh 
utmost to facilitate the subscriber's object ; and me ntiuips 
probably no better mode of effecting the pur- %""l2'~ a - 
pose can be selected than that of placing a''"""/ 

1 1 & applicants 

written declaration of the testator's wish, to- *"«*■ 
gether with the society's signed undertaking, in 
the hands of the friends who are to act as 
executors. Hence, on the decease of a subscriber, 
the society undertakes to send, without further 
charge, an agent when required to the family 
residence, if within twenty miles of Charing 
Cross, in order to supply information and make 
all the necessary arrangements. In this way 
survivors, who may naturally anticipate con- 
siderable difficulty in complying with a request, 
on the part of the deceased, to be cremated, 
being often ignorant even of the mode of making 
an inquiry, may be spared all anxiety as to the 
manner of carrying his design into execution. 
Where the distance is greater than twenty miles, 
all information will be supplied by letter, or an 
agent sent for a very moderate charge. 


Modern Cremation. 

fluids to 


At fint tin It has long been the desire of the council to 
'Zfyl'I^tct render the crematory established at Woking as 
at u\,ki, K , corn pi e te as possible. Although they have had 

for lack of A A 

reason hitherto to be satisfied with the capa- 
bility of the apparatus employed, and with the 
results obtained, recent improvements had been 
made in furnace-construction, and these have 
been recently applied there. A full description 
of the furnace employed follows in its place. 
But they were especially desirous to provide 
buildings suitable for the performance of re- 
ligious service at the crematory when required, 
besides waiting-rooms for the accommodation 
of friends and other visitors. Before these were 
erected, a funeral service had in most cases 
been performed before the arrival of the body 
at Woking ; although in some instances it was 
held in the grounds of the crematory. 

About three years ago the council decided on 

making a special appeal to the public for funds 

to carry out this purpose, and a considerable 

sum was soon provided by subscription. The 

list was headed by a hundred guineas each 

from the late Duke of Bedford and the Duke 

of Westminster, who warmly testified their 

interest in the project. 

resulting in When about three-fourths of the required 

o/n' s /Ji",s sum had been received, plans were prepared by 

halland Mr. E. F. C. Clarke, the architect, and after 

. 1/fcil 
funds ; 


Modern Cremation. 27 

tenders had been obtained and a contract made, m 
the designs were carried out with much care 
and in a very substantial manner. 

The buildings were constructed in the cha- civiracuro/ 
racter of English thirteenth-century Gothic, 
with richly traceried windows, agreeable in 
appearance, the buildings harmonizing well 
with the surrounding woods. The body of the 
structure is in red brick, relieved to a large 
extent by Bath stone ; and when the grass 
terraces and gardens are completed, the general 
effect will be extremely good. The central TktinUor 
hall, or chapel, is forty-eight feet long by 
twenty-four feet six inches wide. The vista 
of the roof, which is twenty-eight feet from the 
floor to the top panelling, is thus left intact. 
The hall is so arranged that those who attend 
see and hear nothing of the proceedings in the 
crematory proper. Its ceiling is richly panelled, 
and will, as well as the walls, be suitably deco- 
rated ; the windows are filled with stained glass. 
A convenient ante-room and porch are arranged 
in this space by the introduction of richly 
panelled and moulded screens. Suitable lava- 
tories, etc., are provided. 

In connection with these buildings is another, TheDukcof 
a small but very complete crematory for the B ^ aie * re . 
exclusive possession of the late Duke of Bed- ma,or y- 
ford, which has been built at his expense on the 

rooms, etc. 

2 8 Modem Cremation. 

society's land. It was used for the first time, 
after the lamented death of his Grace, for the 
cremation of his remains, in accordance with 
express instructions, on January 18, iScjr. 

Ththdge. A pretty porter's lodge, at the entrance of 
the well-wooded grounds, forms the dwelling 
of the attendant and superintendent of the 

The drawing placed as frontispiece to this 
volume is reproduced from a sketch by the 
architect, and shows the hall or chapel as the 
loftiest part of the structure, the next block 
with the chimney being the chief crematory, 
beyond which is the private one just referred to. 
The waiting-rooms are on the further side of 
the chapel. 

Dtxrittion The furnace employed is too important a part 
of the appointments at Woking to be left 
without a full description. The following has 
been supplied by the well-known firm of New- 
lands Brothers, Chemical Engineers, London, 
who designed and superintended its erection 
for the society, and is taken by permission from 
the report recently issued for the past year : — 

Fig. i. Longitudinal vertical section. 
„ 2. Plan of the floor of the cremation 

„ j. Cross section through the furnace. 

eft hi 

Modern Cremation. 29 

Fig. 4. Ditto through the floor of the crema- 
tion chamber. 
„ 5. Platform in front of the cremation 
furnace, showing the carrier. 
A, Fireplace, with grate bars. 
D, Furnace door. 

C, Floor of the cremation chamber, the 

sides of which are four inches higher 
than the central portion. 

D, Doorway for the introduction of the 

D l , Fireproof door closing the latter. 

E, Flue passing over the end of the floor 

and returning underneath, connected 
at F with the main flue G leading to 
the chimney. 

H, By-pass flue connected with the main 
flue at /. 

K, Arches supporting the floor of the 

L, Partition walls with pigeon-holes for the 
purpose of ensuring the complete 
combustion of the gases. 

M, Damper to be lowered during the intro- 
duction of the body, at which time 
the by-pass flue H is used by open- 
ing the damper at J and closing that 

N, Sloping arch to cause the flame to be 


Modem Cremation. 

of the 


deflected sharply downward midway 
upon the floor of the chamber. 

0, Air-space between the furnace and the 
outer walls. 

/', Platform upon which the carrier stands 
to receive the body. 

Q, Wrought iron carrier upon wheels run- 
ning on rails. 

R, Loose bearers laid upon the carrier to 
support the body or coffin when the 
carrier is pushed forward into the 
chamber and slightly lowered ; the 
bearers rest upon the raised sides of 
the floor and admit of the carrier 
being withdrawn from beneath them. 
The link form of these bearers facili- 
tates their withdrawal from the 
chamber when the cremation is 

Longitudinal Vertical Section*. 

Cross Suction through the Fireplace. 


Cross Section through the Floor of the Cremation 

36 Modern Cremation. 

au the I am happy to say that the cost of all these 

propcrtyis buildings, as well as of an additional piece of 
frerhou. ]and lying to the left of the original plot, has 
been defrayed, that the society's property is 
andim- a freehold absolutely without incumbrance, and 

iin limbered. ... . . , , , r r... 

that it is vested in the hands 01 trustees. 1 he 
council is largely indebted to the generous aid 
of the late lamented Duke of Bedford, who took 
great interest in the progress of the building, 
and in the perfecting of all arrangements con- 
nected with the process of cremation. Thanks 
c.cntrom to the Duke's countenance and support, which 
lateDukcofhs was ever ready to afford me, as president of 
the society, and which I cannot too gratefully 
acknowledge, as well as to the personal efforts 
which the members of a most efficient council 
made in its behalf, the present satisfactory 
condition of our enterprise has been attained. 
But I must be permitted to state that his 
Grace the Duke of Bedford, besides defraying 
the cost of the crematory constructed for him- 
self and his family, gave me from time to time, 
as funds were required to complete our build- 
ings, sums amounting to no less than ,£2500, 
and furthermore purchased for the society half 
an acre of ground adjacent to our property, 
which forms a very useful addition. Only a 
fortnight before his death, he suggested to me 
that we required an apparatus for warming the 

Modem Cremation. 37 

chapel, and requested me to get what I thought 
best, and allow him to have the pleasure of 
presenting us with it. 

Our current annual expenditure is consider- Current 
able. The wear and tear of the furnace, due to pmditure, 
the intense heat necessarily employed, rapidly ™ovidafor 
occasions dilapidation requiring repair. This 
will be met in future by the income derived 
from cremation fees, as will be the cost of the 
superintendent's salary and occasional assist- 
ance, for gardening, etc. From this source also 
have to be paid the rent of the London offices, 
and all service and other charges connected 
therewith. The small income contributed by 
annual subscriptions to the society serves to 
defray the cost of printing prospectuses, forms, 
periodical reports, etc. ; the whole involving an 
amount of expenditure requiring all the revenue 
at present obtained. 

In order to complete the establishment at Proposed 

cloister for 

Woking, it is proposed to erect a handsome frescoing 
cloister in a style corresponding with that of""'™i. 
the building, constructed with open arches on 
one side, to be protected by glass from the 
weather. The estimated cost is ,£1500; and 
the object is to offer secure and appropriate 
cells for the protection of ashes, giving, so far 
as this is possible, a permanent interest therein 
to the family of the deceased if they desire it. 

38 Modern Cremation. 

These cells will be of various forms and sizes, 
adapted to receive a cinerary vase or more or 
less rectangular casket or sarcophagus. A 
single cell may thus be secured ; or any number 
may be retained as a separate group, to form 
a family vault if required. Donations are 
wanted to enable the council to carry out this 
various Examples of cinerary urns employed in 

7i^^ 0/ ancient times exist in great abundance, and 
"""• they vary in character as the customs and rites 

of the locality differed, and with the historic 
period at which they were made. Thus " urns " 
of many kinds, at first rude in workmanship, 
assumed in time pleasing forms, and were 
ornamented with simple patterns. Later still 
appeared the vase-like urns adopted by the 
Greeks ; but few of these are suitable for 
general use for the limited areas remaining 
among the crowded populations of modern 
time. Although beautiful in form and admir- 
ably adapted for artistic ornament, they are 
liable to be easily damaged, and necessarily 
occupy considerable space. More safe in regard 
of durability, and more convenient in relation 
to deposit or storage, is a receptacle, the form 
of which is contained within the lines of a 
parallelogram ; while such a vessel offers ample 
opportunity for artistic treatment. Examples 

Modern Cremation. 39 

of this kind were employed by the Greeks, 
under the name of kiotti (in Latin, cista)* 
and by the Etruscans ; although the term 
" urna " originally denoted vessels of this form 
as well as those allied to that of the vase. The 
materials employed for their construction were made 

of several 

various, such as terra-cotta, often travertine, materials 
sometimes marble, alabaster, and even glass, %^ mt 
at that time more costly than any. The well- / '""' s ' 
known "sarcophagus," oblong in form, and large Sarcophagi 
enough to contain the entire unburned body, 
often much larger, was elaborately ornamented. 
Sculptures in high and low relief adorned their 
sides, and statuesque recumbent groups often 
occupied the lid, the subjects having some 
relation to the deeds, tastes, or occupations of 
the departed. The smaller cista above referred 
to resembled the preceding, but were compara- 
tively small, being designed to hold the ashes 
only after cremation. One of these is repre- 
sented by Fig. 6. It is interesting to remark 
that the word aapKoiplijog, derived from two 
Greek words denoting the eating or consuming 
of the body, was originally employed to denote 
vessels made of a limestone found in Assos, in 
Troas, which possessed some of the chemical 
power of quicklime. After being deposited 

* There is a collection of these small forms on the first floor, 
beyond the Greek vases, in the British Museum. 


Modern Cremation. 

cimrary therein, it rapidly decomposed the dead body, 

"anot/ui S i, destroying the tissues (Pliny said, " in forty 

days"!), leaving only the skeleton; and this 

process formed an excellent, because sanitary, 

mode of burial. 

Fig. 6. — An Etruscan "Cista" in the British 

Numerous examples of sarcophagi and cine- 
rary urns are preserved in the Gregorian 
Museum at the Vatican, at the Kircherian 
Museum, and at that of St. John I.ateran, 
Rome ; there are many others also at the 
Campo Santo Pisa, at Florence, Bologna, and 

Modern Cremation. 


Perugia. I have recently endeavoured to utilize /„„,„ 
some of the best types among these, and to%°%%?{" 
produce some simple forms generally modified 
from more ornate designs, and to present them 
not only on purely classical lines, but with the 

Figs. 7 and 8.— Simple Forms of Cinerary Urns, de- 
signed by the Author. 

Christian emblem of the cross. The panel thus 
occupied may be used for the name of the 
deceased, or for any inscription desired. Having 
submitted two or three to Messrs. Doulton and 
Sons, these gentlemen kindly entered at once 


Modern Cremation. 


on the work, and have produced them on 
reasonable terms in terra cotta. Two are given 
here (Figs. ~, 8). They measure at most sixteen 
inches in length by eight inches in height and 
eight inches in width, and afford ample space 
for the ashes of the largest body. Such recep- 
tacles arc well adapted to occupy cells or niches 

Fig. o. 

c rnerary 


of appropriate size, side by side, in the walls of 
a cloister, each cell closed, say, by a small 
marble slab bearing the name of the deceased. 

Of course, where it is desired to construct 
some monumental shrine by itself, the vase-like 
urn may find an appropriate place. Many 
examples of this kind are to be found in the 

Modern Cremation. 43 

great cemetery of Milan, associated with the 
crematorium there. The Messrs. Doulton have Examples 

by Dtntlion. 

Fig. 10. 

executed some good examples of this kind also, 
which may be seen at their establishment at 

Fig. 11. 

Lambeth. They have been good enough to 
furnish us with drawings which are reproduced 

44 Modern Cremation. 

cinoary Fig. 9 represents the simple antique vase in 

pottery, of which so many have been found by 
excavation ; it is one of these which is given in 
each case of cremation at Woking, to contain 
and preserve the ashes when removed or buried. 
Fig. 10 is a more ornate reproduction of a 
Roman sarcophagus at the Campo Santo, Pisa, 
which suggested the modification forming the 
cinerary urn represented at Fig. 7. 

Fig. 1 1 is a handsome vase, in well-chosen 
colours, made by the Messrs. Doulton expressly 
for cinerary purposes ; and of this they have 
several modifications in form, colour, and deco- 
rative design. 



By the Author. Published in the " Contemporary Revieiv" 
January, 1S74. 

After death ! The last faint breath had been 
noted, and another watched for so long, but in 
vain. The body lies there, pale and motionless, 
except only that the jaw sinks slowly but per- 
ceptibly. The pallor visibly increases, becomes 
more leaden in hue, and the profound tranquil 
sleep of Death reigns where just now were life 
and movement. Here, then, begins the eternal 

Rest ! no, not for an instant. Never was Molecular 
there greater activity than at this moment exists c J/ t "f" eat!l , 
in that still corpse. Activity, but of a different 
kind to that which was before. Already a thou- 
sand changes have commenced. Forces in- 
numerable have attacked the dead. The 
rapidity of the vulture, with its keen scent for 
animal decay, is nothing to that of Nature's 
ceaseless agents now at full work before us. 
That marvellously complex machine, but this 

46 Modern Cremation. 

moment the theatre of phenomena too subtle 
and too recondite to be comprehended ; dc- 
notablc only by phraseology which stands for 
the unknown and incomputable — vital, because 
more than physical, more than chemical — is 
now consigned to the action of physical and 
chemical agencies alone. And these all operat- 
ing in a direction the reverse of that which 
^composing they held before death. A synthesis, then, 


dhj>ersing. developing the animal being. The stages of 
that synthesis, now, retraced, with another end, 
still formative, in view. Stages of decomposition, 
of decay, with its attendant putrescence ; pro- 
cess abhorrent to the living, who therefore desire 
its removal. " Bury the dead out of my sight," 
is the wholly natural sentiment of the survivor. 

Katun'* But Nature docs nothing without ample 

meaning ; nothing without an object desirable 
in the interest of the body politic. It may, then, 
be useful to inquire what must of necessity 
happen if, instead of burying or attempting to 
preserve the dead, Nature follows an unimpeded 
course, and the lifeless animal is left to the 
action of laws in such case provided. 

It is necessary first to state more exactly the 
conditions supposed to exist. Thus, the body 
must be exposed to air, and must not be con- 
sumed as prey by some living animal. If it is 
closely covered with earth or left in water, the 

Modem Cremation. 47 

same result is attained as in the condition first 
named, although the steps of the process may- 
be dissimilar. 

The problem which Nature sets herself to Dead 
work in disposing of dead animal matter is ""'a't'ul 
always one and the same. The order of the '"" st '"■' 


universe requires its performance ; no other 
end is possible. The problem may be slowly 
worked, or quickly worked : the end is always 

It may be thus stated : The animal must be 
resolved into — 

a. Carbonic Acid [COJ, Water [H 2 0], and 
Ammonia [NH 3 J. 

b. Mineral constituents, more or less oxidized, 
elements of the earth's structure : Lime, Phos- 
phorus, Iron, Sulphur, Magnesia, etc. 

The first group, gaseous in form, go into the 

The second group, ponderous and solid, remain 
where the body lies, until dissolved and washed 
into the earth by rain. 

Nature's object remains still unstated : the in producing 
constant result of her work is before us ; but p^J/,',' 
wherefore are these changes ? In her wonderful 
economy she must form and bountifully nourish 
her vegetable progeny ; twin-brother life, to her, 
with that of animals. The perfect balance be- 
tween plant existences and animal existences 

sooner or 

48 Modern Cremation. 

must always be maintained, while "matter" 
courses through the eternal circle, becoming 
each in turn. 

To state this more intelligibly by illustration : 
If an animal be resolved into its ultimate con- 
stituents in a period, according to the surround- 
ing circumstances, say, of four hours, of four 
months, of four years, or even of four thousand 
years — for it is impossible to deny that there may 
be instances of all these periods during which 
the process has continued — those elements which 
assume the gaseous form mingle at once with 
the_atmospherc, and are taken up from it with- 
out delay by the ever open mouths of vegetable 
life. By a thousand pores in every leaf the 
by tarns carbonic acid which renders the atmosphere 
and animal, unfit for animal life is absorbed, the carbon 
being separated and assimilated to form the 
vegetable fibre, which, as wood, makes and 
furnishes our houses and ships, is burned for 
our warmth, or is stored up under pressure for 
coal. All this carbon has played its part, " and 
many parts," in its time, as animal existences 
from monad up to man. Our mahogany of 
to-day has been many negroes in its turn, and 
before the African existed was integral portions 
of many a generation of extinct species. And 
when the table, which has borne so well some 
twenty thousand dinners, shall be broken up 

Mode 7' n Cremation. 49 

from pure debility and consigned to the fire, 

thence it will issue into the atmosphere once 

more as carbonic acid, again to be devoured by 

the nearest troop of hungry vegetables — green 

peas or cabbages in a London market garden, u perpetual 

say — to be daintily served on the table which cyck ' 

now stands in that other table's place, and where 

they will speedily go to the making of " Lords 

of the Creation." And so on, again and again, 

as long as the world lasts. 

Thus it is that an even balance is kept — 
demonstrable to the very last grain if we could 
only collect the data — between the total Exact 
amounts of animal and of vegetable life exist- 'bet-Jem the 
ing together at any instant on our globe. There 2™ doi 
must be an unvarying relation between the 
decay of animal life and the food produced by 
that process for the elder twin, the vegetable 
world. Vegetables first, consumed by animals 
either directly or indirectly, as when they eat 
the flesh of animals who live on vegetables. 
Secondly, these animals daily casting off effete 
matters, and by decay after death providing the 
staple food for vegetation of every description. 
One the necessary complement of the other. 
The atmosphere, polluted by every animal 
whose breath is poison to every other animal, 
being every instant purified by plants, which, 
taking out the deadly carbonic acid and assimi- 



50 Modern Cremation. 

lating carbon, restore to the air its oxgen, first 
necessary of animal existence. 

I suppose that these facts are known to most 
readers, but I require a clear statement of them 
here as preliminary to my next subject ; and in 
any case it can do no harm to reproduce a brief 
history of this marvellous and beautiful example 
of intimate relation between the two kingdoms. 

I return to consider man's interference with 

the process in question just hinted at in the 

quotation, " Bury the dead out of my sight." 

Dm,,,- The process of decomposition affecting an 

iu'i'm'm'a/ animal body is one that has a disagreeable, 

""?"T injurious, often fatal influence on the living man 

offensive to J ' ° 

thetiving. jf sufficiently exposed to it. Thousands of 
human lives have been cut short by the poison 
of slowly decaying, and often diseased animal 
matter. Even the putrefaction of some of the 
most insignificant animals has sufficed to de- 
stroy the noblest. To give an illustration which 
comes nearly home to some of us — the grave- 
yard pollution of air and water alone has 
probably found a victim in some social circle 
known to more than one who may chance to 
read this paper. And I need hardly add that 
in times of pestilence its continuance has been 
often due mainly to the poisonous influence of 
the buried victims. 

Man, then, throughout all historic periods, has 

Modern Cremation. 5 1 

got rid of his dead kin after some fashion. He Him 
has either hidden the body in a cave and closed ttudead, 
the opening to protect its tenant from wild 
beasts — for the instinct of affection follows most 
naturally even the sadly changed remains of our 
dearest relative — or the same instinct has led 
him to embalm and preserve as much as may 
be so preservable, — a delay only of Nature's 
certain work ; or, the body is buried beneath 
the earth's surface, in soil, in wood, in stone, or 
metal: — each mode another contrivance to delay, 
but never to prevent, the inevitable change. Or, 
the body is burned, and so restored at once to orSurmng. 
its original element, in which case Nature's 
work is hastened, her design anticipated, that is 
all. And after burning, the ashes may be 
wholly or in part preserved in some receptacle 
in obedience to the instinct of the survivor, 
referred to above. All forms of sepulture come 
more or less under one of these heads. What 
is called " burial at sea " is only a form of 
exposure, the body being rapidly devoured by 
marine animals. 

One of the many social questions waiting to 
be solved, and which must be solved at no very 
remote period, is, Which of these various forms which is 

11-11 r Me better 

of treatment of the dead is the best for sur- „ wdc ? 
vi vors ? 

This question may be regarded from two 

52 Modern Cremation. 

points of view, both possessing importance, not 
equal in degree perhaps ; but neither can be 

1. From the point of view of Utility : as to 
what is best for the entire community. 

2. From the point of view of Sentiment : 
the sentiment of affectionate memory for the 
deceased, which is cherished by the survivor. 

■ utility I assume that there is no point of view to be 
regarded as specially belonging to the deceased 
person, and that no one believes that the dead 
lias any interest in the matter. We who live 
may anxiously hope — as I should hope at least 
— to do no evil to survivors after death, what- 
ever we may have done of harm to others 
during life. But, being deceased, I take it we 
can have no wishes or feelings touching this 
subject. What is best to be done with the 
dead is then mainly a question for the living, 
and to them it is one of extreme importance. 
When the globe was thinly peopled, and when 
there were no large bodies of men living in 
close neighbourhood, the subject was an in- 
considerable one and could afford to wait, and 
might indeed be left for its solution to sentiment 
of any kind. But the rapid increase of popu- 
lation forces it into notice, and especially man's 
tendency to live in crowded cities. There is no 
necessity to prove, as the fact is too patent, that 

Modern Cremation. 53 

our present mode of treating the dead, namely, 
that by burial beneath the soil, is full of danger 
to the living. Hence intra-mural interment has 
been recently forbidden — first step in a series of 
reforms which must follow. At present we who The effects 

.... . , - " ., - .on the living 

dwell in towns are able to escape much evil by e/iuriai 
selecting a portion of ground distant — in \\\\s" lmrt ' 
year of grace 1873 — some five or ten miles from 
any very populous neighbourhood, and by send- 
ing our dead to be buried there : — laying by 
poison, nevertheless, it is certain, for our 
children's children, who will find our remains 
polluting their water sources, when that now 
distant plot is covered, as it will be, more or less 
closely by human dwellings. For it can be a 
question of time only when every now waste 
spot will be utilized for food-production or for 
shelter, and when some other mode of disposing 
of the dead than that of burial must be adopted. 
If, therefore, burial in the soil be certainly in- 
jurious either now or in the future, has not the 
time already come to discuss the possibility of 
replacing it by a better process ? We cannot 
too soon cease to do evil and learn to do well. 
Is it not indeed a social sin of no small magni- 
tude to sow the seeds of disease and death 
broadcast, caring only to be certain that they 
cannot do much harm to our own generation ? 
It may be granted, to anticipate objection, that 

54 Modern Cremation. 

it is quite possible that the bodies now buried 
may have lost most, if not all, of their faculty 
for doing mischief by the time that the par- 
ticular soil they inhabit is turned up again to 
the sun's rays, although this is by no means 
certain ; but it is beyond dispute that the margin 
of safety as to time grows narrower year by 
year, and that pollution of wells and streams 
which supply the living must ere long arise 
wherever we bury our dead in this country. 
Well, then, since every buried dead body enters 
sooner or later into the vegetable kingdom, why- 
should we permit it, as it does in many cases, to 
cause an infinity of mischief during the long 
process ? 
a,, economic Let us at this point glance at the economic 
h- ;'-""r,.°. view of the subject, for it is not so unimportant 
as, unconsidered, it may appear. For it is an 
economic subject whether we will it or not. No 
doubt a sentiment repugnant to any such view 
must arise in many minds, a sentiment alto- 
gether to be held in respect and sympathy. Be 
it so, the question remains strictly a question of 
prime necessity in the economic system of a 
crowded country. Nature will have it so, 
whether we like it or not. She destines the 
material elements of my body to enter the 
vegetable world on purpose to supply another 
animal organism which takes my place. She 

Modern Cremation. 55 

wants me, and I must go. There is no help for 
it. When shall I follow — with quick obedience, 
or unwillingly, truant-like, traitor-like, to her 
and her grand design ? Her capital is intended 
to bear good interest and to yield quick return : 
all her ways prove it — " increase and multiply " 
is her first and constant law. Shall her riches 
be hid in earth to corrupt and bear no present 
fruit ; or be utilized, without loss of time, value, 
and interest, for the benefit of starving sur- 
vivors ? Nature hides no talent in a napkin ; 
we, her unprofitable servants only, thwart her 
ways and delay the consummation of her will. 

Is a practical illustration required ? Nothing ahutrat 
is easier. London was computed, by the census 
of 1 87 1, to contain 3,254,260 persons, of whom 
80,430 died within the year. I have come to 
the conclusion, after a very carefully made 
estimate, that the amount of ashes and bone 
earth, such as is derived by perfect combustion, 
belonging to and buried with those persons, is 
by weight about 206,820 lbs. The pecuniary 
value of this highly concentrated form of animal 
solids is very considerable. For this bone-earth 
may be regarded as equivalent to at least six or 
seven times its weight of dried but unburned 
bones, as they ordinarily exist in commerce. 
The amount of other solid matters resolvable 
by burning into the gaseous food of plants, but 

56 Modern Cremation. 

rendered unavailable by burial for, say, fifty or a 
hundred years or more, is about 5,584,000 lbs., the 
value of which is quite incalculable, but it is cer- 
tainly enormous as compared with the preceding. 
This is for the population of the metropolis 
only : that of the United Kingdom for the same 
year amounted to 31,483,700 persons, or nearly 
ten times the population of London. Taking 
into consideration a somewhat lower death-rate 
for the imperial average, it will at all events be 
quite within the limit of truthful statement to 
multiply the above quantities by nine in order 
to obtain the amount of valuable economic 
material annually diverted in the United King- 
dom for a long term of years from its ultimate 
destiny by our present method of interment. 
Annual The necessary complement of this ceaseless 

7m/orir™" waste of commodity most precious to organic 
life, and which must be replaced, or the popu- 
lation could not exist, is the purchase by this 
country of that same material from other 
countries less populous than our own, and which 
can, therefore, at present spare it. This we do 
to the amount of much more than half a million 
pounds sterling per annum.* 

* Value of bones imported into the United Kingdom, of 
«hich by far the larger part is employed for manure, was in — 

1866 ^409,59" 

1S69 .... . 600,029 

1S72 .... . . 753,185 

Statistical Abstract, No. 20 (Spottiswoode : 1873). 

Modern Cremation. 57 

Few persons, I believe, have any notion that 
these importations of foreign bones are rendered 
absolutely necessary by the hoarding of our own 
some six feet below the surface. The former 
we acquire at a large cost, paying a high price 
for them and for freight. The latter we place, not 
in the upper soil, where they would be utilized, 
but in the lower soil, where they are not merely 
useless, but where they often mingle with and 
pollute the streams which furnish our tables. 
And in order to effect this absurd, if not wicked, 
result, we incur a lavish expenditure! I refer, cw»; 

r 1 i ■ 1 burial 

of course, to the enormous sums which are customs. 
wasted in effecting burial according to our pre- 
sent custom, a part of the question which can 
by no means be passed over. For the funeral 
rites of the 80,000 in London last year, let a 
mean cost of ten pounds per head be accepted 
as an estimate which certainly does not err on 
the side of excess* Eight hundred thousand 

* Items comprised in the calculation — 

1. Cost of shroud, coffin, labour of digging a grave — 

essential now in all burials. 

2. Cost of funeral carriages, horses, trappings, and ac- 

Ornamental coffins in wood and metal. 
Vaults and monumental art — more or less employed in 
all funerals above the rank of pauper. 
The cost of simple modes of transit are not included in the 
calculation, because necessary in any case, whatever the desti- 
nation of the body. The above-named items are only necessary 

58 Modern Cremation. 

pounds must therefore be reckoned as absolute 
loss, to the costs already incurred in the mainte- 
nance of the system. Thus we pay every way 
and doubly for our folly. 
The tub- What, then, is it proposed to substitute for 

lurmi. this custom of burial ? The answer is easy and 
simple. Do that which is done in all good 
work of every kind — follow Nature's indication, 
and do the work she does, but do it better and 
more rapidly. For example, in the human 
body she sometimes throws off a diseased 
portion in order to save life, by slow and clumsy 
efforts, it is true, and productive of much suffer- 
ing ; the surgeon performs the same task more 
rapidly and better, follows her lead, and im- 
proves on it. Nature's many agents, laden with 
power, the over-action of which is harmful, we 
cannot stop, but we tame, guide, and make 
them our most profitable servants. So here, 
also, let us follow her. The naturally slow and 
disagreeable process of decomposition, which we 
have made by one mode of treatment infinitely 
more slow and not less repulsive, we can by 
another mode of treatment greatly shorten and 
accomplish without offence to the living. What 
in this particular matter is naturally the work 

in the case of interment in a grave, and not one would be 
required, for example, in the case of cremation, or burning of 
the body. 

Modern Cremation. 59 

of weeks or months, can be perfectly done in an 
hour or two. 

The problem to be worked is : Given a dead r&efm- 
body, to resolve it into carbonic acid, water, and i^burnZg. 
ammonia, and the mineral elements, rapidly, 
safely, and not unpleasantly. 

The answer may be practically supplied in a 
properly constructed furnace. The gases can 
be driven off without offensive odour, the 
mineral constituents will remain in a crucible. 
The gases will ere night be consumed by plants 
and trees. The ashes or any portion of them 
may be preserved in a funeral urn, or may be 
scattered on the fields, which latter is their 
righteous destination. No scents or balsams 
are needed, as on Greek and Roman piles, to 
overcome the noxious effluvia of a corpse 
burned in open air. Modern science is equal 
to the task of thus removing the dead of a 
great city without instituting any form of 
nuisance ; none such as those we tolerate every- 
where from many factories, both to air and 
streams. Plans for the accomplishment of this 
have been considered ; but discussion of the 
subject alone is aimed at here. To treat out- 
dead after this fashion would return millions 
of capital without delay to the bosom of mother 
earth, who would give us back large returns at 
compound interest for the deposit. 

60 Modern Cremation. 

Who can doubt now that the question is one 
of vital economy to the people of this country ? 
This is still no reason why it should not be 

i. ti,c considered from the point of view of sentiment. 

"tmiimmt. And what has sentiment to urge on behalf of 
the present process? Let us see what the 
process by burial is. 

So far as I dare! for could I paint in its 
true colours the ghastly picture of that which 
happens to the mortal remains of the dearest 
we have lost, the page would be too deeply 
stained for publication. I forbear, therefore, 
to trace the steps of the process which begins 
so soon and so painfully to manifest itself after 
that brief hour has passed, when "she lay 
beautiful in death." Such loveliness as that 
I agree it might be treason to destroy, could 
its existence be perpetuated, and did not Nature 
so ruthlessly and so rapidly blight her own 
handy-work, in furtherance of her own grand 
purpose. The sentiment of the survivor on 
behalf of preserving the beauty of form and 
expression, were it possible to do so, would, 
I confess, go far to neutralize the argument 
based on utility, powerful as it is. But a 
glimpse of the reality which we achieve by 
burial would annihilate in an instant every 
sentiment for continuing that process. Nay, 
more ; it would arouse a powerful repugnance 

Modern Cremation. 61 

to the horrible notion that we too must some 
day become so vile and offensive, and, it may 
be, so dangerous ; a repugnance surmountable 
only through the firm belief that after death 
the condition of the body is a matter of utter 
indifference to its dead life-tenant. Surely if 
we, the living, are to have sentiments, or to 
exercise any choice about the condition of our 
bodies after death, those sentiments and that 
choice must be in favour of a physical condition 
which cannot be thought of either as repulsive 
in itself or as injurious to others. 

There is a source of very painful dread, as 
I have reason to know, little talked of, it is true, 
but keenly felt by many persons at some time 
or another, the horror of which to some is 
inexpressible. It is the dread of a premature Premature 
burial ; the fear lest some deep trance should 
be mistaken for death, and that the awakening 
should take place too late. Happily such oc- 
currences must be exceedingly rare, especially 
in this country, where the interval between 
death and burial is considerable, and the fear 
is almost a groundless one. Still, the conviction 
that such a fate is possible — which cannot be 
altogether denied — will always be a source of 
severe trial to some. With cremation no such 
catastrophe could ever occur ; and the com- 
pleteness of a properly conducted process would 


Modern Cremation. 

render death instantaneous and painless if by 
any unhappy chance an individual so circum- 
stanced were submitted to it. But the guarantee 
against this danger would be doubled, since 
inspection of the entire body must of necessity 
immediately precede the act of cremation, no 
such inspection being possible under the present 
Kdigwus In order to meet a possible objection to the 

rites equally , r . r 1 • 1 i 

applicable substitution of cremation tor burial, let me 

to burial 


. renin tion. 

observe that the former is equally susceptible 
with the latter of association with religious 
funereal rites, if not more so. Never could the 
solemn and touching words " ashes to ashes, 
dust to dust," be more appropriately uttered 
than over a body about to be consigned to 
the furnace ; while, with a view to metaphor, 
the dissipation of almost the whole body in the 
atmosphere in the ethereal form of gaseous 
matter is far more suggestive as a type of 
another and a brighter life, than the consign- 
ment of the body to the abhorred prison of the 

I do not propose to describe here the pro- 
cesses which have been employed, or any 
improved system which might be adopted for 
the purpose of ensuring rapid and perfect com- 
bustion of the body, although much might be 
said in reference to these matters. There is no 

Modern Cremation. 63 

doubt that further experiments and research The present 
are wanting for the practical improvement o{'^J °{ nins 
the process, especially if required to be con- c ™ m " tio " 
ducted on a large scale. Something has been 
already accomplished and with excellent results. 
I refer to recent examples of the process as 
practised by Dr. L. Brunetti, Professor of Patho- Brunettes 


logical Anatomy in the University of Padua. 
These were exhibited at the Exposition of 
Vienna, where I had the opportunity of ex- 
amining them with care. Professor Brunetti 
exposed the residue from bodies and parts of 
bodies on which he had practised cremation by 
different methods, and the results of his latest 
experience may be summarized as follows : The 
whole process of incineration of a human adult 
body occupied three and a half hours. The 
ashes and bone earth weighed 170 kilo. — about 
three pounds and three-quarters avoirdupois. 
They were of a delicate white, and were con- 
tained in a glass box about twelve inches long, 
by eight inches wide, and eight deep. The 
quantity of wood used to effect absolute and 
complete incineration, may be estimated from 
its weight, about 150 pounds. He adds that 
"its cost was one florin and twenty kreuzers" — 
about two shillings and fourpence English. 
The box was that marked No. IX. in the case, 
which was No. 4149 in the Catalogue : Italian. 

6^ Modern Cremation. 

Mummifi. In an adjacent case was an example of 
"""'" mummification by the latest and most success- 
ful method. By a series of chemical processes 
it has been attempted to preserve in the corpse 
the appearance natural to life, as regards colour 
and form. Admirable as the result appears to 
be in preserving anatomical and pathological 
specimens of the body, it is, in my opinion, 
very far from successful when applied to the 
face and hand. At best a condition is produced 
which resembles a badly coloured and not well- 
formed waxen image. And the consciousness 
that this imperfect achievement is the real 
person and not a likeness, so far from being 
calculated to enhance its value to the survivor, 
produces the very painful impression, as it were, 
of a debased original ; while, moreover, it is 
impossible not to be aware that the substitution 
of such an image for the reality must in time 
replace the mental picture which exists, of the 
once living face lighted by emotion and intelli- 
gence, of which the preserved face is wholly 

To return to the process of cremation. There 
are still numerous considerations in its favour 
which might be adduced, of which I shall name 
only one ; namely, the opportunity it offers of 
escape from the ghastly but costly ceremonial 
which mostly awaits our remains after death. 

Modern Cremation. 65 

How often have the slender shares of the widow 
and orphan been diminished in order to testify, 
and so unnecessarily, their loving memory of 
the deceased, by display of plumes and silken 
scarves about the unconscious clay ! And 
again, how prolific of mischief to the living is 
the attendance at the burial-ground, with un- 
covered head, and damp-struck feet, in pitiless 
weather, at the chilling rite of sepulture ! Not 
a few deaths have been clearly traceable to the 
act of offering that " last tribute of respect." 

Perhaps no great change can be expected at The shrine 

. ... . . . containing 

present in the public opinions current, or rather imperishable 
in the conventional views which obtain, on the r " c " u a "^„ 
subject of burial, so ancient is the practice, and cnmatim - 
so closely associated is it with sentiments of 
affection and reverence for the deceased. To 
many persons, any kind of change in our treat- 
ment of the dead will be suggestive of sacrile- 
gious interference, however remote, either in fact 
or by resemblance to it, such change may be. 
Millions still cherish deep emotions connected 
both with the past and the future in relation to 
the "Campo Santo," and the annual "Jour des 
Morts." And many of these might be slow to 
learn that, if the preservation of concrete re- 
mains and the ability to offer the tribute of 
devotion at a shrine be desired, cremation 
equally, if not better than burial, secures those 


66 Modern Cremation. 

ends. On the other hand, I know how many 
there are, both in this country and abroad, who 
only require the assurance that cremation is 
practically attainable to declare their strong 
preference for it, and to substitute it for what 
they conceive to be the present defective and 
repulsive procedure. A few such might, by 
combination for the purpose, easily examine the 
subject still further by experiment, and would 
ultimately secure the power if they desired to 
put it in practice for themselves. And the 
consideration of the subject which such ex- 
amples would afford could not fail to hasten 
the adoption of what I am fairly entitled to 
call the Natural, in place of the present 
Artificial, treatment of the body after death. 


[The foregoing paper having appeared in the Contemporary of 
January, 1S74, a reply from Mr. Holland, at that time 
Medical Inspector of Burials for England and Wales, took 
place in February ; the following paper, defending his 
original statements, was published by the author in the 
March number of that journal.] 



I CONFESS that it is not without some surprise Kccc j,n on 
that I find my proposal to substitute cremation """^ 
for burial as a sanitary reform formally opposed tofr— 1 : 
in the last number of the Contemporary by 
a member of the medical profession. From the 
general public, on account of its natural and 
tender sympathy with ancient customs, especially 
when hallowed by religious rite, I had expected 
adverse criticism. From those who are in- 
terested, or believe themselves to be so, in the 
celebration of funereal pomps and ceremonials 
of all kinds, a protest was also not unlikely to 
be heard. 

In all this, however, I have been mistaken. 
So far from encountering opposition, I have 

68 Modern Cremation, 

received encouragement and support from all 
classes to an extent which would have been to 
me almost incredible had I not witnessed it. 
more Clergymen are anxious to demonstrate how 

favourable r . . • • . 

tka„ lew are the words requiring change in our 

anticipated. Burial Service to render it wholly applicable 
to cremation. The public press has all but 
unanimously spoken favourably of the scheme, 
demanding only to be assured on certain 
grounds of possible objection, with which 
presently I shall have to deal. Persons in all 
ranks and stations of life write to me to say 
there is nothing they would more gladly obtain 
than the assurance that their wish to be burned 
after death could be realized without difficulty. 

And, lastly, I am bound to say that the much 
— perhaps too much — abused undertaker, with 
a knowledge of the world and a breadth of 
view for which some might not have given him 
credit, has said to me, " I only desire to supply 
the public want : as long as the public demands 
funeral cars, magnificent horses, display of 
feathers, and a host of attendants in black, I 
must furnish them ; but I am equally ready to 
perform cremation to-morrow if the public 
demand it, and if you will tell me how to do 
it properly." And I find him an ally at once, 
and not an enemy. 
Among Surprised, then, as I am, equally at the 

Modern Cremation. 69 

number of my friends, and at the quarter from several 

, . . . ... opponents 

whence my one opponent arises, it is with no oue/ias 
little satisfaction, since I am to have an op- a ^""'f. 

' r with special 

ponent, that I find him to be one so well ?*«#&■«- 


qualified for the task ; the writer of the article the contest. 
in question being no less an authority than 
the Medical Inspector of Burials for England 
and Wales to the Home Department. I feel 
sure, then, that all that can be said in defence 
of burial and in opposition to cremation will 
be urged by so experienced and redoubtable an 
antagonist : one who, according to his own 
showing, has had a large share in controlling 
and directing the public money for the estab- 
lishment of Cemeteries during the last twenty 
years. And, after all, I cannot wonder, seeing 
how extensive is his acquaintance with the 
present state of these matters, and how closely 
he himself is identified with them, that he should 
intimate at the outset that in itself my paper 
" is not worth a reply," " the theory on which 
its main conclusion is based being so entirely 
without reasonable foundation." 

He, nevertheless, consents to discuss the sub- 
ject, although he fails to specify the theory thus 
stigmatized. As I intend to examine the article 
carefully, the omission will probably not be im- 
portant. The following may be accepted as a mat he 

r • r 1 1 • • -n rt admits. 

tair summary of the views expressed in it. Mr. 

/O Modern Cremation. 

Mr. Holland admits the great evils of burial when 

admisriJL. '* ls adopted within the limits of the town ; but 
believes that, " amply large and well-situated 
cemeteries " having been established, for which 
" a heavy expense has been incurred " — if, 
furthermore, they are not too much crowded at 
first, and are not too soon disturbed afterwards, 
it is " possible for burial to be continued without 
danger, that is, without, not the possibility, but 
the probability of injury." All these advan- 
tages granted, even then cemeteries " may be 
mismanaged so as to become unsafe, ... for so 
long as men are men, mistakes, and worse than 
mistakes, will occasionally occur;" and he states 
that " the real danger from a well-situated and 
well-managed cemetery, large in proportion to 
the number of its burials, is not larger than 
that of a well-managed railway." 

We learn, then, from her Majesty's Inspector 
that burial is by no means a certainly innocuous 
procedure; although, provided all the conditions 
named above are present — which, by the way, 
is by no means always the case in our very 
popular suburban cemeteries — much mischief 
may not occur. 

In addition to this, he combats at some length 
views which he quite erroneously attributes to 
me ; and also imputes inaccuracy in a state- 
ment of mine relative to chemical changes, 

Modem Cremation. 71 

which imputation I shall prove to be wholly 
without foundation. 

It is on these grounds that Mr. Holland 
advocates burial, and he is bold enough to assert 
its superiority to cremation, although, it ap- 
pears, he has had no experience whatever of 
the latter process ! I doubt whether he ever 
witnessed an experiment, much less has per- 
formed one himself; indeed, I am compelled to 
infer from his remarks that he knows nothing 
of it beyond the account which in my last paper 
I gave of the experiments by Brunetti of Padua, 
the results of which, although excellent, are, as 
I intimated more than once, very inferior to 
those which might easily be attained. He feels 
bound to admit that, "no doubt, if sufficient 
care be taken, no actual nuisance need be 
caused " by cremation, but qualifies the ad- 
mission by suggesting that the process " is far 
more liable to mishaps " than burial, " such mis- 
haps as must be occasionally expected causing 
far more disgusting nuisance, far more difficult 
of concealment." 

To all this I shall reply: first, that the evils He under- 
of burial are far too lightly estimated by Mr. "kcnu* 
Holland, respecting which I will adduce over- °f l ' nr "' 1 ' 
whelming testimony of a kind that he will not 
question or deny. 

Secondly, that the plan of cremation I have 

7 2 Modern Cremation. 

andex- myself adopted and will now advise, is wholly 
"Te'obj"- f rcc fr° m objections of the kind Mr. Holland 
tuns to j las j ma crj ne d to exist ; that it is complete in its 

cremation. a L 

results, and is absolutely causeless of danger or 

offence to others. 
Eviu caused The evils inflicted on the living by the burial 
ihhigby of the dead, I find myself compelled to demon- 
imnaide- s t- ra t c . T n m y oiisjinal article I assumed these 

monstrated. J D 

to be well known and universally admitted, and 
had no idea that evidence on this subject could 
be required. This, however, was an error. 
Thus I have several times been asked quite 
gravely by young men, well educated and in- 
telligent, if it were an ascertained fact that 
decaying dead bodies within a grave could 
really induce disease in the living : true, they 
might give rise to horrible effluvia, and be very 
disagreeable, but were they positively harmful? 
And one respectable journal suggests, as worthy 
of consideration, whether solicitude on these 
matters does not betray an undue care for the 
preservation of life, and regards an attempt to 
control this fertile source of disease, as dictated 
by " a constant and morbid fear of death " ! 
For all this remarkable ignorance of the subject 
I can only account by the fact, that a genera- 
tion has risen up since there was made that 
Tiuiwrrors notable revelation of horrors in the London 
churchyards which the older men of our time can 

Modern Cremation. 73 

never forget, but which the younger men never f„i yye ars 
knew. as ° uaw 


Some five-and-twenty years have now elapsed 
since a systematic examination of the churches 
and graveyards of the Metropolis was made by 
the most eminent and trustworthy men of the 
day, when details were brought to light which, 
at that time, smote the public with horror. 

The result was that Acts of Parliament were 
passed prohibiting intra-mural interment. The 
poisonous abominations were removed, vaults 
were hermetically sealed, and the dead were 
carried miles away ; nevertheless the same 
detestable process of putrefaction goes on, al- 
though it is, at present, beyond the reach of 
our senses, and only now and then obtrudes 
itself on our notice. 

My task, however, becomes yet more neces- 
sary, since we have before us to-day a Medical 
Inspector of Burials, who, while admitting, with 
manifest reluctance, that some danger still 
attaches to the process of interment, comes 
forward to advise the public, with all the weight 
of his experience, to continue that practice, 
instead of inquiring, which he has not done, 
whether a mode of disposing of the body may 
not exist which is absolutely harmless and 
devoid of all the evils named above. 

It is clear, then, that, for the sake of the 

74 Modern Cremation. 

general reader at all events, it is necessary to 
refer, although briefly, to the indubitable evi- 
dence which exists relative to this subject. For his information let me state that the 
/i?49.""' ''General Board of Health" made, in 1849, a 
special investigation, commissioning for the 
purpose Southwood Smith, Chadwick, Milroy, 
Sutherland, Waller Lewis, and others, to con- 
duct a searching inquiry into the state of the 
burial-grounds of London and large provincial 
towns, and to devise a scheme for extra-mural 
sepulture. From their report,* which abounds 
in information, I shall make two or three 

Happily, any minute description of the state 
of the graveyards and their contents which 
resulted from "the present practice of interment 
in towns " need not be given. It will suffice for 
our purpose to observe that the reporters say, 

* Report on a General Scheme for Extra-mural Sepulture 
(Clowes and Sons : 1S50). 

(Signed) Carlisle. 


Edwin Chadwick. 
T. Southwood Smith. 

The subject had been examined before by official authority ; 
and at an early period by Walker, whose work on Graveyards 
is well known, and contains much information. (Longmans, 
London : 1S39.) 

A Special Inquiry into the Practice of Interment in Towns, 
by Edwin Chadwick (London : 1S43), is replete with evidence, 
and should be read by those who desire to pursue the inquiry 

Modern Cremation. 75 

" We shall be under the necessity of making 
statements of a very painful nature, and some- 
times of representing scenes which we feel Extracts 
most reluctant publicly to exhibit; but we f ™"'Jlkab!e 
should ill discharge the duty entrusted to us if re/ ""' L 
we were to shrink from the full disclosure of 
the truth — more especially as a thorough know- 
ledge of the evil is indispensable to an appre- 
ciation of the only effectual remedy." * 

Passing over these details, I quote again as 
follows : " We," say the reporters, " may safely 
rest the sanitary part of the case on the single 
fact, that the placing of the dead body in a 
grave and covering it with a few feet of earth 
does not prevent the gases generated by de- 
composition, together with putrescent matters 
which they hold in suspension, from permeating 
the surrounding soil, and escaping into the air 
above and the water beneath." 

After supporting this statement by illus- 
trations of the enormous force exercised by 
gases of decomposition, in bursting open leaden 
coffins, whence they issue without restraint, the 
reporters quote the evidence of Dr. Lyon Play- 
fair (late H.M. Postmaster-General) to the 
following effect : — 

" I have examined," he says, " various church- 
yards and burial-grounds for the purpose of 
* Report on a General Scheme, etc., p. 5. 

7 6 Modern Cremation. 

sir Lyon ascertaining whether the layer of earth above 
tvfdtMe." tne bodies is sufficient to absorb the putrid 
gases evolved. The slightest inspection shows 
that they are not thoroughly absorbed by the 
soil lying over the bodies. I know several 
churchyards from which most foetid smells are 
evolved ; and gases with similar odour arc 
emitted from the sides of sewers passing in the 
vicinity of churchyards, although they may be 
more than thirty feet from them." 

He goes on to estimate the amount of 
gases which issue from the graveyard, and esti- 
mates that for the 52,000 annual interments 
of the Metropolis * no less a quantity than 
-. S7 2 .S8 cubic feet of gases is emitted, "the 
whole of which, beyond what is absorbed by 
the soil, must pass into the water below or the 
atmosphere above." 

The foregoing is but one small item from the 
long list of illustrative cases proving the fact 
that no dead body is ever buried within the 
earth without polluting the soil, the water, and 
the air around and above it ; the extent of the 
offence produced corresponding with the amount 

* A number which has already reached 80,000, in 1873, so 
rapid is the increase of population. The above was written in 

It has been stated by some that the mere contact of the corpse 
with fresh earth suffices for safe disinfection ! Such a monstrous 
delusion is disposed of by this evidence. 

Modern Cremation. 77 

of decaying animal matter subjected to the 

But " offence " only is proved : is the result 
not only disagreeable, but injurious to the 
living ? 

The Report referred to gives notable ex- Extracts 

amples of the fatal influence of such effluvia^"tf»« 

when encountered in a concentrated form; one'"""'"" 

' 1849. 

being that of two gravediggers who, in 1841, 
perished in descending into a grave in St. 
Botolph's churchyard, Aldgate. Such are, how- 
ever, extremely exceptional instances ; but our 
reporter goes on to say that there is abundant 
evidence of the injurious action of these gases 
in a more diluted state, and cites the well- 
demonstrated fact that " cholera was unusually 
prevalent in the immediate neighbourhood of 
London graveyards." I cannot cite, on account 
of its length, a paragraph by Dr. Sutherland 
attesting this fact : while the many pages detail- 
ing Dr. Milroy's inspection of numerous grave- 
yards are filled with evidence which is quite 
conclusive, and describes scenes which must be 
read by those who desire further acquaintance 
with the subject* 

Dr. Waller Lewis reports the mischievous 

* See independent examples on each of pages 13, 14, 15, 17, 
18, 21, 26, 28, 43-46, and many others in the Report above 
quoted, p. 29. 


. Modem Crana tion. 

Dr. Waller 




results of breathing the pestiferous air of vaults, 
and the kind of illness produced by it.*' Mis 
long and elaborate report of the conditions 
of these excavations beneath the churches of 
the metropolis, presents a marvellous view of 
the phenomena, which, ordinarily hidden in the 
grave, could be examined here, illustrating the 
many stages of decay — a condition which he 
describes as a "disgrace to any civilization." 
But it may be said all this is changed now ; 
intra-mural interment no longer exists : why 
produce these shocking records of the past ? 

Precisely because they enable us to know 
what it is which we have only banished to our 
suburban cemeteries ; that wc may be reminded 
that the process has not changed ; that all this 
horrible decomposition removed from our doors 
— although this will not long be the case, either 
at Kensal Green or Norwood, to say nothing 
of some other cemeteries — goes on as ever, and 
will one day be found in dangerous vicinity to 
our homes. And here I must make an expla- 
nation which I think can be necessary to very 
few who read my former article, although Mr. 
Holland misunderstands me, and bases the 
greater part of his paper upon the utter mis- 
representation of my meaning he is pleased to 

* See also Chadwick's Special Inquiry, for numerous illus 

Modern Cremation. 79 

make. Because I said that in burying the 
corpses of to-day in distant graves we were 
" laying by poison for our children's children," 
he takes special pains to inform me that pro- 
bably these particular corpses must at that 
future time be as innocuous as if they had been 
burned. No doubt they will be so ; but as 
years pass on, the close neighbourhood and 
ultimate contact of the putrefying dead with 
our living descendants must arrive. 

It is only a question of time. And it was 
expressly for the purpose of guarding against 
the misapprehension I complain of, and which 
has furnished my opponent with such large 
opportunity of needless remark, that I added 
the following passage, which it is only charitable 
to suppose he must have overlooked (although 
it forms the immediate sequel to that which he 
quoted) : — 

"It may be granted, to anticipate objection, 
that it is quite possible that the bodies now 
buried may have lost most, if not all, their 
power of doing mischief by the time that the 
particular soil they inhabit is turned up again 
to the sun's rays, although this is by no means 
certain ; but it is beyond dispute that the 
margin of safety as to time grows narrower and 
narrower year by year, and that pollution of 
wells and streams which supply the living must 

So Mode in Cremation. 

ere long arise wherever we bury our dead in 
this country." 

Now, there is no doubt that the passage which 
has been thus unfairly separated from its con- 
text, and so made to appear the exponent of 
views I do not hold, and have, indeed, expressly 
disclaimed, is that in which he professes to find 
ground for his statement that the " theory on 
which my main conclusion is based is entirely 
without reasonable foundation." What, then, 
becomes of this sweeping assertion ? 
Further At this point let me call another witness on 

and more 

ment this important subject. Perhaps it would be 

evidence. . _.. , , ■ ■ .. . ,. 

difficult to name a higher authority in this 
country on any question of public health, 
than that of Dr. Edmund Parkes, Professor of 
Military Hygiene of the Army Medical School 
at Netley. With the particular part of his 
writings which I am about to quote, I was 
unacquainted until the last few days, perhaps 
because they appear in a work "prepared 
especially for use in the medical service of the 
army." That at all events must be my excuse 
for not having them within reach before.* In 
a short, but suggestive, chapter "on the disposal 
of the dead," he proposes the following ques- 
tion : — 

* A Manual of Practical Hygiene. London : Churchill. 

Modem Cremation. 81 

" What, then, is the best plan of disposing Dr. partes 
of the dead so that the living may not suffer ? qu< " 
At present the question is not an urgent one ; 
but if peace continue, and if the population of 
Europe increase, it will become so in another 
century or two. Already in this country we 
have seen, in our own time, a great change ; 
the objectionable practice of interment under 
and around churches in towns has been given 
up, and the population are buried at a distance 
from their habitations. For the present, that 
measure will probably suffice, but in a few years 
the question will again inevitably present itself. 

"Burying in the ground appears certainly the The danger 

. - , . 112. ioth in town 

most insanitary plan of the three methodsj andamntry 
The air over cemeteries is constantly contami-j^^, 
nated (see p. j6), and water (which may be used i " ria/ - 
for drinking) is often highly impure. Hence 
in the vicinity of graveyards two dangers to the 
population arise, and in addition, from time to 
time, the disturbance of an old graveyard has 
given rise to disease. It is a matter of notoriety 
that the vicinity of graveyards is unhealthy." 

To return to our reporters : we have seen the 
condition of graveyards in towns, but it will 
not be undesirable to glance at the evidence 
relating to the condition of provincial church- 
yards, where, in the midst of a sparse popu- 

* Burial in the Land, or at Sea, and Burning, p. 458. 


82 Modem Cremation. 

lation, the pure country air circulates with 
natural freedom — numbers of such spots are 
mentioned — let one single example be " Cadox- 
ton Churchyard, near Neath." Respecting this 
the reporter writes : "I do not know how 
otherwise to describe the state of this church- 
yard than by saying that it is truly and 
thoroughly abominable. The smell from it is 
revolting. I could distinctly perceive it in 
every one of the neighbouring houses which 
I visited, and in every one of these houses 
there have been cases of cholera or severe 
diarrhoea." This is not a selected specimen, 
some are even worse ; for further examples 
see below.* 
Further I next complain that there is insufficient 

discussion . . . , T TTli U ri 

of this recognition in Mr. Holland s paper, of the 
subject. unhealthy character of the emanations which 
result from the process of putrefaction when 
affecting the human body. He lays great stress 
on the fact that at the end of those long stages 
of decay which burial renders necessary, the result 
is as harmless as at the end of the process of 
cremation, passing over as not worth notice the 
fact that for long years the corpse is replete 
with influences which are mischievous to any- 

* Op. cit., p. 48. Report of Mr. Bowie, describing graveyards 
at Merthyr Tydvil ; Hawick, Roxburghshire ; Greenock, and 
other places. 

Modem Cremation. 83 

thing which may come within their range ; 
absolute isolation being the only condition of 
safety. Conversely stated, this is precisely my 
own argument, and demonstrates triumphantly 
the superiority of cremation. I affirm that, by 
burning, we arrive in one hour, without offence 
or danger, at the very stage of harmless result 
which burying requires years to produce. True 
indeed it is, " that the ultimate result is the 
same," but an infinity of mischief may happen 
by his process, and none can happen by mine. 
And, after all, he can only on his own showing 
claim a perfect result by burial " if no more 
dead be buried than the free oxygen contained 
in rain and dew carried through it, will decom- 
pose ; and if such soil be left undisturbed, etc., 
and if the use of such ground for burial be 
discontinued," etc., etc. Again, there is another 
instance of Mr. Holland's insufficient recog- 
nition of the unhealthy character of cadaveric 
emanations which I must particularly call atten- 
tion to. I had stated that in the resolution of 
an animal body the gaseous products were 
carbonic acid, water, and ammonia. He im- 
peaches my correctness, saying that I am — 

" Not, however, quite accurate in describing 
that result to be the formation of water, of 
ammonia, and of carbonic acid, as the chief 
products ; for if the decomposition either with 


84 Modern Cremation. 

or without fire be complete, no ammonia will be 
formed in the soil ; or, if formed, it will be 
converted before it need escape either into the 
air, or be carried off by water, in the form either 
of uncombined nitrogen, or changed into some 
compound of that element with oxygen, such as 
nitric or nitrous acid," etc. 

I never said the ultimate result of the reso- 
citanges lution in question was ammonia, but I repeat 

when take ' ' * 

//nee. that ammonia is an intermediate formation in 

large quantity, by which nitrogen passes off 
before it comes to be "the nitric or nitrous 
acid " he speaks of, the latter being, by the way, 
no more an ultimate step in the process than is 
ammonia. At what point shall we stop if we 
arc to trace to their last stages the volatile 
component elements of the body ? Why, cer- 
tainly not at ammonia, nor at nitric acid, but 
at carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen. I 
chose to rest at ammonia, because the evolution 
of ammonia is an important fact, and I reassert 
that it is largely produced. So much for the 
a priori statement. Now, what is the evidence 
from observation in this matter ? Was I right 
or was I wrong, as Mr. Holland says I am, in 
stating that the body is resolved among other 
things into ammonia ? Any intelligent witness 
will do for me, but we have Dr. Parkes still in 
the box : let us interrogate him. That same 

Modern Cremation. 85 

short chapter almost commences with the 
following passage : — 

"After death the buried body returns to its 
elements, and gradually, and often by the 
means of other forms of life which prey on it, 
a large amount of it forms carbonic acid, 
ammonia, sulphuretted and carburetted hydro- 
gen, nitrous and nitric acid, and various more 
complex gaseous products, many of which are 
very fcetid, but which, however, are eventually 
all oxygenized into the simpler combina- 
tions." * 

In another part of the volume, in speaking of 
the air of churchyards, he writes — 

"The decomposition of bodies gives rise to 
a very large amount of carbonic acid. . . . 
Ammonia and an offensive putrid vapour are 
also given off." 

" In vaults, the air contains much carbonic 
acid, carbonate or sulphide of ammonium, nitro- 
gen, hydrosulphuric acid, and organic matter." f 

My readers will agree with me, I think, that 
this matter is disposed of. 

I now arrive at the second part of my subject, 
in which I have to show that the plan of 
cremation I have myself adopted, and will now 
advise, is wholly free from objections of the 
kind Mr. Holland has imagined to exist ; that 
* Parkes, p. 457. t Op. at., p. 76. 

86 Modern Cremation. 

it is complete in its results, and is absolutely 
causeless of danger or of offence to any. 
The best Many persons have expressed to mc the 

'performing opinion that I ought in my first paper to have 
UnXT described what I believed to be the best mode 
of performing cremation. May I say that this 
was also desired by the Editor of this journal. 
I felt, however, although I was prepared to give 
the information in question, that it was impos- 
sible to judge beforehand what might be the 
reception by the public of my project, and that 
I might perhaps go too far and weight it too 
heavily if I actually sketched the process by 
which each reader could realize for himself its 
nature and mode of operation. I think the 
reticence was prudent, although it might pos- 
sibly have been unnecessary. 

I think it is fair to myself to say that, before 
that first article was published, a scheme for 
burning two thousand bodies a week for London 
(the average present requirement being about 
sixteen hundred) was quite completed, and that 
I had satisfied myself that to accomplish this 
would not be a difficult task, and that it would 
occasion no nuisance whatever. 

Without entering on those details, I will give 
an example of what I have done in the matter 
of resolving the body into its ultimate elements 
by heat. 

Modern Cremation. 87 

And first of all I must request the reader to 
dismiss from his mind all the allegations against 
the practice of cremation which Mr. Holland 
has made, grounded on what he imagines that 
process to be. He states that it " would neces- 
sarily require the active superintendence of a 
class of men whose services for such an office 
it would be scarcely possible always to obtain : 
while it is evident that imperfectly conducted 
burning of the dead would be inexpressibly 
shocking, and apt not rarely to occur." The 
point first named is a matter barely worth 
contesting; but the last five words are absolutely 
without foundation, and I challenge him to 
show a tittle of evidence to support the very 
grave allegation they contain. 

A powerful reverberating furnace will reduce riunsuit 

. . , of cremation 

a body of more than average size and weight, by the 
leaving only a few white and fragile portions of 3*^^ 
earthy material, in less than one hour. I have^""" 1 "- 
myself personally superintended the burning 
of two entire bodies, one small and emaciated 
of 47 lbs. weight, and one of 140 lbs. weight, 
not emaciated, and possess the products — in the 
former case, weighing if lbs. ; in the latter, 
weighing about 4 lbs. The former was com- 
pleted in twenty-five minutes, the latter in fifty. 
No trace of odour was perceived — indeed, such 
a thing is impossible — and not the slightest 


Modern Cremation. 

Early ex~ 
periment in 

difficulty presented itself. The remains already 
described were not withdrawn till the process 
was complete, and nothing can be more pure, 
tested by sight or smell, than they are, and 
nothing less suggestive of decay or decompo- 
sition. It is a refined sublimate, and not a 
portion of refuse, which I have before me. The 
experiments took place in the presence of 
several persons. Among the witnesses of the 
second experiment was Dr. George Buchanan, 
the well-known medical officer of the Local 
Government Board, who can testify to the com- 
pleteness of the process.* 

I challenge my opponent to produce so fair 
a result from all the costly and carefully 

* These experiments were made by me, in January, 1874, 
after permission kindly granted by Messrs. Maudslay Sons and 
Field, at their works in Westminster Bridge Road. At that 
period in the history of cremation, I did not think it right to 
name this act of generous liberality and confidence, so strong 
was the prejudice against it in many minds, but happily there is 
now no need to withhold my public acknowledgments of the 
favour accorded me in providing the necessary means for ac- 
quiring the experience I wanted. 

The subsequent experiments I went to Birmingham to per- 
form, at the suggestion of my late friend Sir Win, Siemens, who 
had there one of his admirable furnaces. The cremation de- 
scribed on the next page was that of a fat hog, being one of the 
most severe tests I could apply in reference to production of 
offensive odours. The method, which requires a large supply 
of gas and a costly apparatus, is still superior to any other I am 
acquainted with. 

These were the first cremations made in this country, with a 
view to determine the applicability of furnaces to the accom- 
plishment of human cremation. 

Modem Cremation. 89 

managed cemeteries in the kingdom, and I offer 
him twenty years during which to conduct the 
process for a single experiment. 

In the proceedings above described, the gases No noxious 

1 • 1 1 1 , - . gases escape. 

which leave the furnace chimney during the 
first three or four minutes of combustion are 
noxious ; after that time they cease to be so, 
and no smoke would be seen. But these noxious 
gases are not to be permitted to escape by any 
chimney, and will pass through a flue into a 
second furnace, where they are entirely con- 
sumed ; and the chimney of the latter is smoke- 
less — no organic products whatever can issue 
by it. A complete combustion is thus attained. 
Not even a tall chimney is necessary, which 
might be pointed at as that which marked the 
site where cremation is performed. A small 
jet of steam quickening the draught of a low 
chimney is all that is requisite. If the process 
is required on a large scale, the second furnace 
could be utilized for cremation also, and its 
products passed through another, and so on 
without limit. 

Subsequent experiments, however, by another Ex/m- 
method, have resulted in a still greater success. sl-'Jas 
By means of one of the furnaces invented \>yf nr " a "- 
Sir Wm. Siemens, I have obtained even a more 
rapid and more complete combustion than be- 
fore. The body employed was a severe test of 

go Modern Cremation. 

Perfect its powers, for it weighed no less than 227 lbs., 
r t ""i'icCc"s ar, d was not emaciated. It was placed in a 
furnace. cylindrical vessel about seven feet long by five 
or six in diameter, the interior of which was 
already heated to about 2000° Fahr. The 
inner surface of the cylinder is smooth, almost 
polished, and no solid matter but that of the 
body is introduced into it. The product, there- 
fore, can be nothing more than the ashes of the 
body. No foreign dust can be introduced, no 
coal or other solid combustible being near it : 
nothing but a heated hydrocarbon in a gaseous 
form and heated air. Nothing is visible in the 
cylinder before using it but a pure almost white 
interior, the lining having acquired a tempera- 
ture of white heat. In this case, the gases given 
off from the body so abundantly at first, pass 
through a highly heated chamber among thou- 
sands of interstices made by intersecting fire- 
bricks, laid throughout the entire chamber, 
lattice-fashion, in order to minutely divide and 
delay the current, and expose it to an immense 
area of heated surface. By this means they 
were rapidly oxidized, and not a particle of 
smoke issued by the chimney: no second furnace, 
therefore, is necessary by this method to con- 
sume any noxious matters, since none escape. 
The process was completed in fifty-five minutes, 
and the ashes, which weighed about five pounds, 

Modern Cremation. 91 

were removed with ease. The foregoing is a 
very meagre sketch of Dr. Siemens' furnace, 
the principle of which is well known to engineers, 
and to scientific men generally, and need not be 
described in detail here. 

I will now add — not that it affects the process 
in the slightest degree as to results — that all my 
experiments hitherto have been made with the 
lower animals. 

As a rough and unfinished sketch of a system 
to be followed when cremation is generally 
adopted, I would suggest the following : — 

When death occurs and the necessary certifi- practical 
cate has been given (relative to which an im-"T/''f" 

*-" v Jot the per- 

portant suggestion will be made hereafter), the y&r " ww "- /r 


body is placed in a light wood shell, then in a 
suitable outside receptacle preparatory to re- 
moval for religious rites or otherwise. After a 
proper time has elapsed, it is conveyed to the 
spot where cremation is to be performed. There, 
nothing need be seen by the last attendant or 
attendants than the placing of a shell within 
a small compartment, and the closing of the 
door upon it. It slides down into the heated 
chamber, and is left there an hour till the neces- 
sary changes have taken place. The ashes are 
then placed at the disposal of the attendants. 

I now come to a very serious matter, treated 
of by Mr. Holland in a manner of which I am 

will it or 

92 Mode 111 Cremation. 

compelled to complain. He is pleased to make 
merry himself, and to suggest that I am joking — 
or, to use his own phraseology, " poking fun " — 
when calling attention to my remarks relative 
to the " economical " view of cremation. 
c-cmation In speaking of this, I stated that " it is an 

must Iiavc . . . . 7 .... 

an economic economic subject, tvlicther we will it or not. 

-IZ'tlfr !« Now, I wish him and all my readers to under- 
stand that I was never more serious, never more 
earnest, in my life then I was then and am at 
this moment, and in consideration of this ques- 
tion of "economy." Anything like "fun" or 
a "joke," wherever else it may be tolerated, 
is wholly out of place here. Seeing the 
Great Power which has ordained the marvellous 
and ceaseless action which transmutes every 
animal body as quickly as possible into vege- 
table matter and vice versA, and has arranged 
that this harmonious cycle should be the absolute 
and necessary law for all existence, I have space 
for no other sentiments than those of sub- 
mission, wonder, and admiration. If any say 
that it is in bad taste, or does violence to some 
right feeling, to speak of the fate that inevitably 
awaits every one of us, in that, on some future 
day, the elements of our bodies must enter into 
that other life of the vegetable world, whence 
once they came, let the complaint thereof be 
carried to the Highest Court of the Universe, 

Modem Cremation. 93 

and let the question be asked there, Whether 
" the Judge of all the earth doth right " ? 

Meantime it suffices us to know that the very 
existence of these cavillers is solely due to that 
Divine fecundity which pervades all nature, and 
is regulated by economical principles, the benefi- 
cent operation of which we may feebly postpone, 
doing some notable harm thereby, but happily 
can never resist in the end. 

My charge against Mr. Holland, however, is Further 

, . . . . , . considera- 

not this, but something much more serious, tim */ 
Alluding to the small modicum of remains in m ^,*»" 2 -» 
the form of ashes after cremation, and which rtlati ™ t0 


I was content should be preserved in an 
urn, stating only that the fields were their 
"righteous" destination — as they are — he speaks 
of the latter suggestion as a "desecration " and 
as " outraging family affection ; " and actually 
associates it in some fashion with savagery 
and cannibalism. Yet — can we believe it ? — he, 
so tender of sentiment on this subject of deceased 
remains, himself actually advocates and practises 
the utilizing of by far the greater part of those 
remains for the production of grass and other 
vegetables for the express purpose of keeping 
his cemeteries sweet and wholesome ! The 
gaseous elements of these buried bodies, which, 
as I particularly insisted upon when dealing 
with that question of economy, are by far the 

94 Modern Cremation. 

ne greater part, being incalculable in amount in 

ZTtZTcd. relation to the ashes, which are by comparison 
a mere trifle, and which alone he is pleased to 
mention — that greater part, I say, he not only 
uses himself, but he knows that this very utili- 
zation of it is the only way he has of preserving 
a cemetery in a tolerable condition. He knows 
perfectly well that the presence of abundant 
plant-growth is essential in the cemetery to 
assimilate the noxious gases arising from the 
buried bodies before alluded to, and that those 
plants owe their life and structure to the very 
elements of our " friends and relatives," about 
whom he professes to be so utterly shocked 
that I should conceive it possible to utilize them 
for any economical purpose ! I charge my 
opponent then, his professions notwithstanding, 
as in part the manager of the cemeteries of this 
country during twenty years, with having pre- 
sided over perhaps the largest institution that 
ever existed for transmuting the human body 
into vegetable growth of various kinds. My 
one objection to his system is that it does it 
so slowly, so offensively, and so dangerously. 

Now, lest perchance some one not himself 
acquainted with the facts alluded to may 
desire, for such a statement, other authority 
than my own, let us listen once more, and for 
the last time, to Dr. Parkes. In order to 

Modem Cremation. 95 

oxidize the fcetid organic exhalations of the 
burying-ground, he says : " The only means 
which present themselves, as applicable in all 
cases, are the deep burial and the use of plants 
closely placed in the cemetery. There is no plan 
which is more efficacious for the absorption of the 
organic substances, and perhaps of the carbonic 
acid, than plants ; but it would seem a mistake 
to use only the dark, slow-growing evergreens ; 
the object should be to get the most rapidly 
growing trees and shrubs," etc.* 

But even this is not my opponent's crowning Tke"smU- 

r* -i-i ment" in 

inconsistency. bo determined is he not to regardof 
accept cremation, that he suggests another ^^"f" 
mode, "that of sinking the dead in the depths 
of the ocean," as having " far more to recom- 
mend it." No doubt there is much to be said 
in its favour; much more certainly than for 
burial. Yet shocked as he is at the notion that 
his father's ashes should ever fertilize the field, 
he would consign the body to a place whence, 
almost instantly, it would be devoured by fish 
and crustaceans, whose numbers would be mul- 
tiplied correspondingly by their benefactor's 
enormous contribution of food, as the public 
markets soon would testify. No animal multi- 
plies more rapidly than fish, and the "economic " 

* P. 45S. Dr. Sutherland also strongly insists on the same 

96 Modern Cremation. 

question would be determined in a manner 
more complete, and more direct, and with a more 
remunerative result than any which I had ever 
dared, or still should dare, to suggest ! 

This remarkable proposal appears actually on 
the same page as that in which he affects to be 
outraged by my suggestion that burning the 
body would necessarily contribute to the " food 
production " of the earth. 

And here I shall take leave of Mr. Holland, 
to seek some less formidable antagonist. Possibly 
in this light may be regarded the writer of an 
article in an influential weekly journal, whose 
objection, supposing it to be seriously urged, is 
almost the only one besides those already 
noticed which has appeared within the range of 
our periodical literature. 
other By stretch of charity one might almost 

"cZl/JJred. imagine it to be a joke, seeing it is the writer's 
only way of retreat from a wholly untenable 
position. He urges that, as the present gene- 
ration is doing its best to exhaust "the rivers, 
the rainfall, the mines, and the natural fertility 
of the earth," we ought to leave our dead re- 
mains "in bank for our descendants;" or, in 
other words — for the generous sentiment is 
repeated — " it is well that such a deposit as the 
dead of generations should be left to our pos- 
terity " ! Waiving altogether the greatest ob- 

Modem Cremation. 97 

jection to this testamentary provision for our objections 
grandchildren— viz. the amount of disease and cmMar,/ - 
death which is unquestionably produced by 
burial in the soil — the writer ought to have 
known that the " bank " in question, to use his 
own simile, pays no interest ; and that it is 
perfectly certain that such capital rendered pro- 
ductive at once, according to nature's design, 
must yield a far greater profit, even for pos- 
terity, than his own notable one of burying 
this one talent in a napkin as an offset against 
what he is pleased to consider our present 
exhaustion of " rivers and rainfall," which he 
declares is taking place at " railway speed " ! 
As if consumption of water in any form, were 
it a million-fold what it is, could exhaust or 
diminish the common stock a single drop ! No 
modern schoolboy could make such a blunder 
as this ; nevertheless, it is only a specimen of 
others existing within the short limits of that 
article, and equally easy to expose, if need be. 
I cannot pass over, however, one statement that 
this writer has dared to make. He speaks of my 
figures relative to the number buried in London 
in 1873, an d estimating the amount of bone- 
earth and ashes belonging thereto as " very 
debatable," and, further, that they " are open 
to question." After saying this, he declines " to 
fight so eminent a physicist on so small a point 


98 Modern Cremation. 

of detail." Is the point so small? I declare 
those figures to be below, and not above, the 
truth, and am amply prepared to prove it. My 
veracity is at stake, for I know no higher 
crime than to issue misleading or exaggerated 
numerical statements in order to prove a case, 
unless, indeed, it be to utter insinuations, with- 
out offering a tittle of proof to support them, 
that an accurate numerical statement is untrue. 
rue I now desire to afford explanations which 

AnUyAv h ave been asked relative to the following very 
evidence of important subject. It has been said, and most 

poisoning by r J ' 

cremation, naturally, what guarantee is there against poison- 
ing if the remains are burned, and it is no longer 
possible, as after burial, to reproduce the body 
for the purpose of examination ? It is to my 
mind a sufficient reply that, regarding only "the 
greatest good for the greatest number," the 
amount of evil in the shape of disease and 
• death, which results from the present system of 
burial in earth, is infinitely larger than the evil 
caused by secret poisoning is or could be, even 
if the practice of the crime were very consider- 
ably to increase. Further, the appointment of 
officers to examine and certify in all cases of 
death would be an additional and very efficient 
safeguard. But — and here I touch on a very 
important subject — is there reason to believe 
that our present precautions in the matter of 

Modem Cremation. 99 

death-certificate against the danger of poisoning 
are what they ought to be? I think that it 
must be confessed that they are defective, for 
not only is our system inadequate to the end 
proposed, but it is less efficient by comparison 
than that adopted by foreign governments. Our 
existing arrangements for ascertaining and 
registering the cause of death are very lax, and 
give rise, as we shall see, to serious errors. In a qualified 
order to attain an approach to certitude in this 'Tcatir 
important matter, I contend that it would be s '""' u . 
most desirable to nominate in every district «wy««w; 
a properly qualified inspector to certify in all 
cases to the fact that death has taken place, to 
satisfy himself as far as possible that no foul 
play has existed, and to give the certificate 
accordingly. This would relieve the medical 
attendant of the deceased from any disagreeable 
duty, relative to inquiry concerning suspicious 
circumstances, if any have been observed. Such «/« 

rr -it 1 11 ■ • r France and 

officers exist throughout the large cities oi,/ !ra ,/„„. 
France and Germany, and the system is more 
or less pursued throughout the provinces. In 
Paris, no burial can take place without the 
written permission of the "Medecin-Verificateur;" 
and whether we adopt cremation or not, such an 
officer might, with advantage, be appointed here.* 

* The practice referred to is thus regulated : — 

The following is the text of the French law, Code Napoleon, 

ioo filodcni Cremation. 

Many For perhaps it is not generally known, even, 

buried as it would seem, by those who have emphasized 
'c'r!;fiLl7 so 110tabl y the objection in question to crema- 

Article 77: " Aucune inhumation ne sera faile sans une 
autorisation, sur papier libre et sans frais, de l'officier de 
l'etat civil, qui ne pourra la dclivrer qu'apres, s'etre transporle 
aupres de la personne decedce pour s'assurer du deces, et que 24 
heures apres le deces, hors les cas prevus par les reglements de 

Thus the verification of the deceased must always be made by 
a civil officer in person ; viz. by the Mayor of the town, or by 
some one he shall appoint. The law, however, is executed 
differently in Paris and in the provinces. In Paris, the veri- 
fication is made exclusively by medical men appointed for this 
purpose in each "quartier. " Their functions are defined by an 
Act of the 31st of December, 1821. As soon as a death is 
reported, the civil officer communicates with the medical man of 
the "quartier" in which the deceased resided, and awaits the 
report to decide (in concert with the deceased's friends) at what 
hour burial should take place. The medical man attends at the 
residence indicated, acquaints himself with all the circumstances 
of the illness, and reports in writing relative to the following 
particulars: I. The christian and surname of the deceased; 
2. The sex ; 3. If married or not ; 4. The age ; 5. The pro- 
fession ; 6. The exact date and hour of the decease ; 7. The 
"quartier," the street, the number and story of the house in 
which it occurred ; 8. The nature of the illness, and if there be 
any reason for making an autopsy ; 9. The duration of the illness ; 
10. The name of the persons who provided the medicines ; II. 
The names of the doctors and others who attended the case. 
Besides this verification made by the doctors belonging to each 
"quartier" of Paris, by an order of the Prefect of the Seine, 
April, 1839, a committee was formed to watch over the service. 
The medical men who attest the facts connected with death at 
Paris are called the " Medecins-Verificateurs des deces." [This 
in 1874 ; for present and stricter method, see Part IV.] 

In Vienna, a similar document is always prepared, but with 
greater care. The same may be said of Munich, Frankfort, 
Geneva, and other Continental cities. 

Modern Cremation. 101 

tion, that many bodies are buried in this country 
without any medical certificate at all ; and that 
among these any number of deaths by poison 
may have taken place for anything that any- 
body knows. Is it in the provinces chiefly that 
this lax practice exists ? No doubt, and more 
particularly in the principality of Wales. But 
it occurs also in the heart of London. A good 
many certificates of death are signed every year 
in London by some non-medical persons. Not 
long ago, in one metropolitan parish which I 
can name, but do not, above forty deaths were 
registered in a year on the mere statement of 
neighbours of the deceased. No medical cer- 
tificate was procurable, and no inquest was held; 
the bodies were buried without inquiry. This 
practice is not illegal ; and, in my opinion, it 
goes far to make a case for the appointment of 
a " Medecin-VeVificateur." During the exist- 
ence of pestilence especially, such a safeguard 
is necessary. Before I quit this subject, let me 
make a brief extract from evidence given by 
Mr. Simon before the Royal Sanitary Commis- Mr.simonS 
sion in 1869, from which it appears that medical "''■"'" 
certification of death is not the rule, but the 
exception, in some districts of Wales. He 
says — 

" The returns of death made to the Registrar- Many 
General are necessarily imperfect. . . We had imperfect. 

io2 Modern Cremation. 

imjcr/cct to make inquiry on one occasion as to the sup- 
'""'"' posed very large prevalence of phthisis in some 
of the South Wales counties. ... It turned out 
that this great appearance of phthisis in the 
death-registers depended upon the fact that the 
causes of death were only exceptionally certified 
by medical men. I remember that in one case 
only 15 per cent, of the deaths had been medi- 
cally certified. The non-medical certifiers of 
death thought that ' consumption ' was a good 
word to cover death generally, so that any one 
who died somewhat slowly was put down as 
dying of 'consumption,' and this appeared in 
the Registrar-General's returns as phthisis." 

Dr. Sutherland long ago called attention to 
this matter. I quote his remarks from the work 
above named. Referring to Paris, Munich, and 
other cities, he says — 

"Where there are regularly appointed vcrifi- 
cators, . . . who are generally medical men in 
practice, . . . the districts of the city arc divided 
between them. . . . The instructions under which 
these officers act arc of a very stringent cha- 
racter, and the procedure is intended to obviate 
premature interment, and to detect crime. The 
French and the German method of verification 
is intended to be preventive. A number of in- 
stances were mentioned to me in which crimes 
which would otherwise have escaped notice were 


Modern Cremation. 103 

detected by the keen and practised eye of the 
verificator, and the general opinion certainly 
was that much crime was prevented." * 

This is but an episode in treating of crema- 
tion ; a very important one nevertheless. I 
have, therefore, thought it right to take this 
opportunity of advocating a more stringent pro- 
vision than now exists for an official inspection 
and certificate in all cases of death. 

Lastly, it would be possible, at much less cost suggestion 
than is at present incurred for burial, to pre- preserving 
serve, in every case of death, the stomach, and^?^ 
a portion of one of the viscera, say for fifteen 
or twenty years or thereabouts, so that in the 
event of any suspicion subsequently occurring, 
greater facility for examination would exist 
than by the present method of exhumation. 
Nothing could be more certain to check the 
designs of the poisoner than the knowledge that 
the proofs of his crime, instead of being buried 
in the earth (from whence, as a fact, not one in 
a hundred thousand is ever disinterred for ex- 
amination) are safely preserved in a public office, 
and that they can be produced against him at 
any moment. The universal application of this 
plan, although easily practicable, is, however, 
obviously unnecessary. It is quite certain W\dX h, doM/ui 

. cases. 

no pretext for such conservation can exist in 
* Op. tit. 

104 Modern Cremation. 

more than one instance in every five hundred 
deaths. In the remainder, the fatal result would 
be attributed without mistake to some natural 
cause — as decay, fever, consumption, or other 
malady, the signs of which are clear even to a 
tyro in the medical art. But in any case in 
which the slightest doubt arises in the mind of 
the medical attendant, or in which the precau- 
tion is desired or suggested by a relative, or 
whenever the subject himself may have desired 
it, nothing would be easier than to make the 
requisite conservation. As before stated, the 
existence of an official verificator would relieve 
the ordinary medical attendant of the case from 
active interference in the matter. If, then, the 
public is earnest in its endeavour to render 
exceedingly difficult or impossible the crime of 
secret poisoning — and it ought to be so if the 
objection to cremation on this ground is a valid 
one — the sooner some measures are taken to this 
end the better, whether burial in earth or crema- 
tion be the future method of treating our dead. 
Cost of I must add one word in reply to a critic who 


rather hastily objected that the estimate in my 
original paper of the mean cost of burials in 
London as about £10 per head is too high. I 
have re-examined my calculations and find it, 
if in error at all, too low. Curiously enough, 
in going through Dr. Edwin Chadwick's work. 

Modem Cremation. 105 

already referred to, for other purposes, I find 
that he also made a similar calculation thirty 
years ago, and that his estimate is rather higher 
than mine. He puts it at more than £600,000 
for the metropolis, when the population was a 
little more than one-half what it is now ; I 
reckoned £800,000 for the year 1873. And he 
considers the cost of funerals for England and 
Wales to be, at that time, nearly five millions 
sterling. He includes cost of transit, which I 
omit, as being necessary equally with cremation 
and burial, so that the difference between us is 
not considerable. 

To sum up :— 

For the purposes of cremation nothing is re- General 
quired but an apparatus of a suitable kind, "/" t " t '"' y 
the construction of which is well understood advanla 2''< 

of crailtl- 

and easy to accomplish. With such apparatus tim - 
the process is rapid and inoffensive, and the 
result is perfect. The space necessary for the 
purpose is small, and but little skilled labour is 

Not only is its employment compatible with 
religious rites, but it enables them to be con- 
ducted with greater ease and with far greater 
safety to the attendants than at a cemetery. 
For example, burial takes place in the open air, 
and necessitates exposure to all weathers, while 
cremation is necessarily conducted within a 

106 Modem Cremation. 

Advantage building, which may be constructed to meet the 
"tiln."" requirements of mourners and attendants in 
relation to comfort and taste. 

Cremation destroys instantly all infectious 
quality in the body submitted to the process, 
and effectually prevents the possibility of other 
injury to the living from the remains at any 
future time. All care to prevent such evil is 
obviously unnecessary, and ceases from the 
moment the process commences. The aim o' 
cremation is to prevent the process of putre- 

On the other hand, burial cannot be conducted 
without serious risks to the living, and great 
care is required to render them inconsiderable 
with our present population. Costly cemeteries 
also arc necessary, with ample space for all 
possible demands upon it, and complete isola- 
tion from the vicinity of the living, to ensure, 
as far as possible, the absence of danger to 

It is a process designed essentially to prolong 
decay and putrefaction with all its attendant 
mischief; and the best that can be affirmed of 
it is, that in the course of many years it arrives, 
by a process which is antagonistic to the health 
of survivors, at results similar to, but less com- 
plete, than cremation produces in an hour with- 
out injury to any. 



ARRIVING now at the next part of my subject, u„q UC stim- 
I venture to think that few persons can doubt aM f . ., 

1 superiority 

that cremation, as a mode of safely decomposing °fcrcma- 

tion to any 

the body after death, is the most rapid and other 

. method 0/ 

efficient agent known. dealing 

Researches and experiments on a very ex- ',t'.Ji udy : 
tended scale during the last fifteen years have 
amply demonstrated much that before that date 
was but shrewdly believed to be true, viz. that 
putrefaction affecting organic matter dissemi- 
nates the germs of fatal disease. The high 
temperature necessary for cremation destroys 
these and resolves the body rapidly into harm- 
less volatile matter and pure white ashes, the 
only visible residue. Moreover, the process of 
putrefaction after burial is not one which it is illC0m . 
desirable to describe, and any attempt to dof.^^'J'" 
so could only wound those natural feelings o{"' anihe 

J ° practiee of 

affection which are cherished for the departed. *»««/; 

io8 Modern Cremation. 

Sentiment is enlisted wholly on the side of 
cremation ; and shrinks with inexpressible re- 
pugnance from any vision, however transient, of 
" the corruption " of the grave. 
ensuring On the other hand, the action of fire in the 

Jtamiposi- space of an hour or two destroys all offensive, 
stfetyfrom poison-laden impurities, rendering inert all that 
infection. j s i n f cc tious, and restores valuable elements in 
the form of gases to the atmosphere, where 
they at once enter into new combinations with 
healthy living organisms in obedience to the 
order of nature. 
Oniobjcc- To this process of combustion I know now 
oHtycanbt but one objection. One only, indeed, is ever 
sustained; scr j ous ]y urged against it ; and the gravity of 
that I do not dispute. So complete is the 
destruction of all noxious matter accomplished 
ascrwns by cremation of the body, that if any extraneous 
poison happens to be present in its tissues 
before death, administered by accident or design, 
all traces of it are necessarily destroyed also. 
Hence, in those exceedingly rare cases where 
the evidence of a poisoner's guilt depends on 
the production by chemical skill of the very 
agent employed, from the tissues of the body 
exhumed for the purpose some time after 
death, justice would be defeated and the crimi- 
nal would escape if in that particular instance 
cremation had been employed. I do not desire 


Modem Cremation. 109 

to underrate the force of the objection which and to be 
lies against the procedure on that ground ; I C msed" 
intend to deal with it seriously. 

I might first, however, rejoin with great force 1. Many 

1 ii- 1 1 buried 

that many bodies committed to the grave todies are 
every week in the metropolitan area alone, are c w ;^fp oiso „ 
charged with poisons not less dangerous to the 
living population than those which may have 
been used to cause death by design. I state uabu to 
as a fact of the highest importance that by theiiJng. 
burial in earth we effectively provide — whatever 
sanitary precautions are taken by ventilation 
and drainage, whatever disinfection is applied 
after contagious disease has occurred — that the 
pestilential germs which have destroyed the 
body in question are thus so treasured and 
protected as to propagate and multiply, ready 
to reappear and work like ruin hereafter for 

Since last I wrote, the argument for crema- 
tion on this ground has been immeasurably 
strengthened. It was then notorious that the 
water-courses and wells in the proximity of 
graveyards and cemeteries had often been the 
demonstrated sources of disease to a neigh- 
bouring population.* But the later discoveries 

* It can scarcely be necessary to reproduce evidence in proof 
of the statement here made. Yet I am told there are signs that 
its force and abundance have been forgotten by many. It should 
suffice to refer to the printed transactions of our society for a 


Modern Cremation. 

inquiry has 

shown that 
germs (if 

as hactcri. 

are pre* 
serz'eti in 
the soil : 

of science point more strongly to other dangers, 
arising still more directly from the buried dead. 
Every year records new facts identifying the 
cause of certain of the most familar types of 
contagious disease with the presence of minute 
organisms, bacteria, the absorption of which 
into the blood, or even in some cases into the 
alimentary canal, suffices to reproduce the 
dangerous malady. One of the most deadly 
scourges to our race, viz. tubercular disease, is 
now known to be thus propagated. Then, 
besides, anthrax or splenic fever, spores from 
which arc notoriously brought to the surface 
from buried animals below, and become fatal to 
the herds feeding there, it is now almost certain 
that malarious diseases, notably Roman fever, 
and even tetanus, arc due to bacteria which 

] i-.t of published records which long ago settled the question 
beyond all dispute. See Part II., the facts repoited and alluded 
to at pp. 72-78. (Also Transactions, Nos. 1 and 2, edited by 
Mr. Eassie, and for bibliography of the subject given there. 
London : Smith & Elder.) But for those who desire specific 
statements on this head, together with much interesting matter 
regarding cremation in its scientific aspects and in connection 
with religious observance, see a paper in Good Words, Jul) - , 
18S5, by the Right Hon. Sir Lyon Hayfair, K.C.B., M.P., 
entitled, "Disposal of the Dead." In relation to the subject 
above referred to, I shall make two brief extracts : "In most 
of our churchyards the dead are harming the living by destroying 
the soil, fouling the air, contaminating water-springs, and 
spreading the seeds of disease." " I have officially inspected 
many churchyards and made reports on their state, which, 
even to re-read, make me shudder." 

Modern Cremation. 1 1 r 

flourish in the soil itself. The poisons of scarlet and thus 
fever, enteric fever (typhoid), small-pox, diph- Z'Z%?a1 
theria, malignant cholera, are undoubtedly <*»""«<"'« 

J spread — 

transmissible through earth from the buried 
body by more than one mode. And thus by 
the act of interment we literally sow broadcast 
through the land innumerable seeds of pesti- 
lence — germs which long retain their vitality, 
many of them destined at some future time to 
fructify in premature death or ruined health 
for thousands. 

And here I must call attention to the impor- 
tant fact that there is no mode of interment 
more dangerous to the living than that termed 
the "earth to earth" system, by which the an actum 
exposure of the body to the soil is designed to tZ'""?!,-//,'' 
be instant and complete. By this means the toa " rth " 

1 J system. 

germs of disease just named may be carried 
with extreme rapidity into contact with the 
living ; and such burial — during a cholera 
epidemic, for example — would prove a ready 
and active means of disseminating it. And this 
is precisely what was known to happen during 
the hurried and perfunctory burial proceedings 
which took place in the fatal epidemics of 1849 
and 1854. How the system of placing a diseased 
or any other body in a mere basket for the 
express purpose of ensuring contact at once 
with every channel by which its contents may 

1 1 2 Modern Cremation. 

-Earth to escape, can be advocated for sanitary purposes 
tOriai or by any sanitary authority, I am unable to 
etfniaify conce j ve p 01 - a t this instant these contents, 


being in their fresh condition, possess the maxi- 
mum activity of virulence as poisons, since 
there is reason to believe that time gradually 
diminishes it. If contact with a peculiarly 
fitting soil could be ensured, and absolute 
certainty could be attained that for two or 
three years or so nothing could possibly be 
carried away to contaminate the brooks and 
rivulets which convey a supply of drinking-water 
to the living, then the " earth to earth " process 
might be advocated with some show of reason, 
for the few spots where such conditions could 
be proved to exist. But our thickly populated 
country docs not possess anything like adequate 
cemetery accommodation of this character ; in 
fact, such soil so favourably situated must be 
extremely rare. 

The dangerous germs of disease, and the most 
injurious elements resulting from organic changes 
in any dead body, are unquestionably slowly 
decomposed and rendered less pernicious by 
retention in close coffins for a [ew years, before 
contact with the surrounding soil takes place. 
But the adoption of a system which is designed 
to hasten dispersion of the elements by any and 
every channel open in the soil six feet below 

Modern Cremation. 1 1 3 

the surface, so that the same spot may be 
similarly used after a brief term of years, is 
fraught with risk to the living. 

It is vain to dream of wiping out the reproach impossible 
to our civilization, which the presence and power wisuct 
of these diseases in our midst assuredly con- dlsca f csi f 

' the bodies 

stitute, by any precaution or treatment, wljile *» *«*rf; 
effective machinery for their reproduction is in 
constant daily action. One of the modes by 
which buried infection may possibly reappear, 
is the ceaseless activity of the earth-worm, 
bringing to the surface — which, indeed, in a 
measure it slowly creates — poisonous matters 
engendered in animal bodies, although covered 
by a considerable depth of permeable soil. By 
the method of " earth to earth " burial, this 
process may be at once effectively utilized for 
the purpose of distributing them ; at all events 
opportunity is thus offered, which a stout coffin 
long delays, and probably more or less effectively 
prevents. The proportion of deaths due to the 
diseases referred to is exceedingly large. And many 

11/* diseases 

let it never be forgotten that they form no would da- 
necessary part of any heritage appertaining to "ff^r' 
the human family. All are preventable, all**^ 
certainly destined to disappear at some future 
day, when man has thoroughly made up his 
mind to deal with them seriously. 

Thus, in the year 1884 the total number of 


agemen t 

114 Modern Cremation. 

deaths from all causes in England and Wales 

was 530,828 ; of which those from zymotic 

diseases * were 84,196, or about 16 per cent. 

Proportion In tne y ear 1885 the total number of deaths 

of zymotic c 22,7 50 ; of these the zymotic diseases 

diseases j u j J J 

causing were 68,972, or about 133 per cent. 


In the year 18S6 the total number of deaths 
was 537,276; of these the zymotic diseases 
were 71J47, or about 134 per cent. During 
the three years these diseases were below the 
average of preceding years. f 

And one of the first steps, an absolutely 
essential step for the attainment of the inestim- 
able result I have proposed, is the cremation of 
each body the life of which has been destroyed 
by one of these contagious maladies. I know 
no other means by which it can be ensured. 
». "Poison- The next important fact for our considera- 
'*s'' sh ° Hli tion is, that at present no adequate means are 

be discovered ' * ^ 

before the employed to ensure the discovery of poison as a 
turiid, cause of death before burial takes place. That 
" the prevention of an evil is better than its 
cure " is an old adage, full of truth in its appli- 
cation to most human affairs. It ought to be 

* Zymotic diseases (from fii/iaxris, "a ferment") are held to 
include small-pox, measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping- 
cough, typhus, enteric fever, simple fever, diarrhoea and dysen- 
tery, and cholera. 

t Registrar-General 's Report of Births, Deaths, and Marriages 
if! England and Hales, 47th and 48th, for the years 1884- 1886, 

Modern Cremation. 115 

accepted as a principle that, for the purpose of 
ensuring the safety of the public, it is infinitely 
preferable to provide a system adapted to detect 
an act of poisoning before burial, rather than to 
rely upon the slender chance that may arise 
hereafter. Once the victim has been consigned after which 
to the grave, small hope remains that discovery ""J™" 
will take place. It is often stated that burial g ™ e t m? 
ensures the conservation of evidence that poison destr °y ed - 
has been given, but without large qualification 
the statement is very far from true. Soon after 
burial distinct traces of most poisons — certainly 
those which are the most potent, such as 
morphia, aconite, atropine, strychnine, prussic 
acid, etc., are, sooner or later, decomposed ; or 
they may become associated with new septic 
poisons developed in the body itself, which com- 
plicate the steps of subsequent inquiry, and 
invalidate unquestionable evidence which was 
present for some days after death, and might 
have been obtained while the body was above 
ground. There remain, then, only the metallic Three o«i y , 
poisons which can be reckoned on as likely to frilling 
be detected after exhumation, practically three rc '" a '"- 
in number, arsenic, antimony, and mercury. 
These will mostly continue for a considerable 
time in a condition which permits them to be 
obtained by analysis from the tissues of the 
person poisoned, 


Modern Cremation. 

than, before 

Our neglect 
to inquire 
is remark* 

We bury 
certificate ! 

of inquests 

Nevertheless, exhumation is at the best a 
clumsy attempt to rectify culpable want of care 
before burial. For it is not too much to say 
that the chances in favour of discovering poison 
will be at least twenty to one if adequate inquiry 
be made while the body is above ground, as 
compared with the result of analysis made of 
those which have once been buried. Yet what 
is our position in relation to this inquiry ? Does 
the fact just named practically rule our action 
in this matter? By no means. Thousands of 
bodies are buried every year, in this country, 
even without medical certificate of any kind. 
Of course there are numerous deaths from 
disease in which no medical advice has been 
demanded, because the warning symptoms of 
danger have been absent or insufficient ; and 
for this very reason an inquiry should be made 
by some competent official. And there are 
perhaps occasionally some in which the absence 
of the medical man has been ensured in further- 
ance of a sinister design. The proportion of 
inquests to deaths is by no means inconsider- 
able, but it is certainly less than it ought to be. 
Of the 522,750 deaths of 1885, no less than 
27,798, or 5-3 per cent, were certified after 
inquest ; but no less than 18,146, or 3*5 percent., 
were buried without medical certificate or any 
inquiry whatever. And in the year 1886 these 

Modern Cremation. 1 1 7 

uncertified deaths amounted to 18,322. While Great 
it must be confessed that there is a very large ftht 
number of cases insufficiently defined by certifi- Zl'tet". 
cate and unsatisfactorily accounted for. Since 
the date of the first edition a little more atten- 
tion appears to have been given to this matter, 
for in the latest report — that is, of the deaths in 
1889, amounting to 518,353 — the causes of 
2 9.079, or 5-6 per cent., were certified after 
inquest; and 15,100 deaths, or 2 - o. per cent, 
were not certified, an improvement of about a 
half per cent."* 

But in Scotland the uncertified deaths form a 
far larger proportion to the certified than they 
do in England. Thus in the year 1888, the 
latest issue, the uncertified deaths in Edinburgh 
amounted to no less than iot per cent, of the 
entire number. Among the rural population, it 
was far larger, reaching from 14 to over 40 per 
cent, in the remoter districts.! 

Few persons probably are aware of the 

* Registrar-General's Report of Births, Deaths, and 
Marriages, the 52nd, for the year 1889, p. xviii. Eyre and 
Spottiswood, 1890. 

t Registrar-General's Report of Births, Deaths, and Marriages 
in Scotland, for the year 1SS8, p. lvi. Neill and Co., Edin- 
burgh. 1890. 

For an account of the laxity of usage in certifying death in 
Scotland, see a pamphlet by Dr. Charles Cameron, LL.D.,M.P., 
entitled The Modem Cremation Movement (Alex. Gardner, 
Paisley and London. iSSS). The whole work is an admirable 
and very forcible statement of the case in favour of cremation. 

1 1 S Modern Cremation. 

infinitesimal relation which exhumation for 
legal purposes bears, by comparison, with the 
enormous opportunities offered for the commis- 
sion of undiscoverable crime, due to our im- 
perfect arrangements for inquiry into the cause 
of death in all ordinary cases. It is not too 
much to say that, in a very large proportion of 
these, the registration is merely an empty form. 
" To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel," as a 
metaphor, inadequately represents the inconsis- 
tent conduct of those who continue to disregard 
the facilities carelessly permitted for criminal 
poisoning, to magnify the slender detective re- 
Exhuata- sources afforded by exhumation. Dr. Danford 
txcasively Thomas, the well-known coroner for Central 
Middlesex, informs me that during the last 
seven years he has held about 10,000 inquests 
in that district, and only three exhumations 
have been ordered during the same period. 

But at my suggestion, Mr. Danford Thomas 
has been good enough to organize a systematic 
inquiry extending throughout England and 
Wales, designed to obtain the results of ex- 
humation for the last twenty years or there- 
abouts. There are 334 coroners in England and 
Wales, of whom 317, embracing all the im- 
portant districts, have responded to a series of 
questions sent out to each for the purpose. Of 
this number, 62 had been directed to perform 


Modern L vernation. 

1 19 

exhumation, and the total number of exhuma- 
tions was 102. From these data it may be ■*»"*»« 

. ' r year in thi. 

estimated that the mean number of exhuma- country, 
tions made in a year throughout England and 
Wales is only five, and less than one yearly for 
poison! The number of inquests during 1886 
was 30,548— showing, as an average, one ex- 
humation to every 6100 inquests. 









verdict. and very 

few 0/ these 

are cases 
0/ poisoning. 

Whether cremation be adopted, or the practice Far more 


mist be 

of burial alone be continued, in either case it is 
equally desirable to make a far more searching 
inquiry than we do at present in all cases of at death. 
death. And this inquiry should be conducted 
by a qualified officer appointed for the purpose. 
Probably the officer of health in most districts — ■ 
in some exceptional ones, the medical officer 
appointed under the Poor Law — would be able 
to perform the necessary duty ; this being paid 
for by some fee for each examination, to be 
determined. I called special attention to this 


1 20 Modern Cremation. 

England pressing want seventeen years ago (see Part II. 

countries r of this work, p. 99), showing that the practice in 
'" this country was greatly behind that of France, 

duty. Germany, and other European nations. In 

every case of death without exception in those 
countries, the uncovered dead body is examined 
by a medical officer set apart for that duty, 
distinguished as the midecin vi'rificateur. In 

The French Paris, for example, as soon as a death is re- 
ported, the civil officer communicates with the 
medical officer of the quarticr in which the 
deceased resided, and awaits the report to decide 
(in concert with the deceased's friends) at what 
hour burial should take place. The medical 

dacrihd i,, officer attends at the residence indicated, and 
makes a written report, detailing all the ascer- 
tainable facts relative to the death which he 
has obtained by inquiry, besides those which 
result from the examination of the body, in ac- 
cordance with a schedule supplied. This officer, 
having of course had no professional relation 
with the deceased, records the name and 
address of the doctor who has attended, as 
well as those of the chemist who supplied the 
medicines, together with the names of nurses if 
any were employed. He describes the hygienic 
condition of the house, states what surviving 
relatives lived there, etc. No burial can take 
place under any pretext whatever until this 


Modem Cremation. 121 

inquiry has been made, all the facts recorded, 
and permission has been granted. In short, it 
is the object of the examination to leave no 
means untried of detecting the cause of death 
before the body disappears from view.* 

I may add that the same system is adopted The practice 
throughout the departments of France. In ™ ll(i ' e " s " a 
Vienna a similar document is always prepared, w, ' m - 
and perhaps with still greater care and minute- 
ness. The same may be said of Munich, Frank- 
fort, Geneva, and other Continental cities. 

It is needless to say how greatly superior To detect 
this system is to our own ; and it is impossible [''J'",""' 
not to add that all who are really earnest in a in , 7 "'^, 

* should ue 

desire to detect the secret poisoner are bound adopted 
to advocate the establishment of that or some 
similar method of supervision here. Otherwise 
it is scarcely fair, and it is certainly inconsistent, 
to defend the practice of earth burial, with its 
manifold dangers to the living, for the sole 
purpose of ensuring the right of occasionally ex- 
huming a body, in order to repair the lack of 
adequate observation at a more fitting time. 

The next step in the argument will take its 
starting-point from the undeniable fact that a 
large majority of deaths taking place in our Regarding 
community are obviously and unquestionably ZTiu'e""' 

* See Part IV., p. 150, for a facsimile copy of the schedule 
employed in Paris. 

12 2 

Modern Cremation. 

noted that 
almost all 
deaths art 
due to 
causes ; 

of them. 

Five per 
cent, arc 
by the 

natural. It is very desirable to ascertain as 
nearly as possible what is the proportion of 
these, or, inversely, what is the percentage of 
those about which some doubt as to the cause 
may be entertained. I have carefully studied 
this question, and it is important to consider it 
before we come to close quarters with the 
objection started at the outset. I suppose no 
one will imagine that there is the slightest 
ground for doubt about the nature of the fatal 
attack, in other words the cause of death, in, 
say, nine-tenths of the cases which occur. In 
fact, the proportion of obviously natural causes 
is very much larger than that. Old age and 
natural decay ; all zymotic or contagious 
diseases, most of which have been enumerated ; 
the acute and chronic diseases of the lung and 
other local organs, cancer, diabetes, rheumatic 
affections, childbirth, besides the 5 per cent, 
of unknown cases determined by the coroner, 
leave a narrow margin for doubtful examples. 
In acute dysentery or diarrhoea, and in some 
affections of the brain, circumspection is neces- 
sary in relation to the possibility of poisoning 
by irritants, in the first class of cases ; by 
narcotics in the second. Then in infantile dis- 
orders, especially among illegitimate children ; 
and among the poorest class where the lives of 
infants are insured, observation should be alert. 

Modern Cremation. 123 

Regarding all sources of uncertainty, I think Perhaps 

i 1 1 r 1 i' one per 

one case in a hundred of the average mortality ccnt „ wye 
at all ages would be a high estimate of the pro- ™j-f, d Jj 
portion in which some reason exists for making tothe 

coroner by 

more careful inquiry than our present system an official 
ensures. In other words, the present system, ** 
demanding as it does exercise of the coroner's 
function in 5'3 per cent, of deaths, this might 
possibly be found desirable in nearly another 
1 per cent, after the inquiry of the mi'decin 
vi'rificateur. This is a considerable addition, 
because it must be recollected that the coroner's 
quest is chiefly needed to investigate mechanical 
accidents causing death, and personal violence, 
of which evidence is easily available. It is not 
altogether a secret that some medical men of 
large experience hold the opinion that the 
administration of poison causing death is not 
so uncommon as the infrequent discovery of the 
act might be held to indicate. Conviction in a 
court of justice following the crime is very rare. 
The present system of burial after certificate — Very few 

. r . , ...- convictions 

and not a few, as we have seen, have no certin- /( , rA , /JWi _ 
cate— throws very little light on the class of ^' a ' w 
doubtful cases. And yet we have been gravely/'"™' 


forbidden to practise cremation, which would 
deprive thousands of bodies now buried of those 
elements which are dangerous to the living, lest 
perchance in a solitary case of criminal poison- 

124 Modern Cremation. 

ing, which we have neglected through careless- 
ness or indifference to investigate at a fitting 
time, the chance should be lost, if some years 
afterwards suspicions arise, of acquiring the 
often questionable evidence which exhumation 
might afford ! 
Advocates of Well, unreasonable as such a course of action 


oniydesirc must appear, when seriously considered, I will 
should be grant its advocates, if there still be any, for 
efuonai; ai -g Um ent's sake, that it is not wholly unjustifi- 
able, and nevertheless I shall assert the safety 
and the superiority of cremation. 

The advocates of cremation, as I learned with 
some disappointment many years ago, and 
many a time since, have been widely misunder- 
stood in respect of their aims, and no amount 
of restatement appears to correct an impression 
made on the public at the outset, to the effect 
that they proposed, or at all events have desired, 
to make cremation compulsory. Let it be 
understood then, once for all, that we have 
never suggested that any man should be sub- 
mitted to the process against his own will or 
that of his nearest friends. As to enforcing it 
in all cases by legal enactment, as has been 
imagined by some, I doubt whether the most 
uneasy sleepers among us have ever dreamed of 
such a scheme of legislative tyranny. So far, 
indeed, have we been from holding such views, 

Modem Cremation. 125 

that I believe it has never been proposed to 
make the system under any circumstances 
universally applicable. 

All we have ever asked is that cremation never to 
should be optional ; that it should be recognized compulsory. 
as legal (it is not illegal) ; that leave to perform 
it should be granted only under certain condi- 
tions ; and that adequate precautions should be 
taken against its abuse, so that the destruction 
of evidence against criminal poisoning should 
be rendered almost if not quite impossible, 
through the exercise of more than ordinary care. 

I earnestly ask the great public to consider And my 

. n r ... . , desire to 

the significant fact that it is we, the advocates practise it 
of cremation, who have sought to perform it°"**^j" 
under the above-mentioned specific conditions ; co " diti <" ls ' 

so as to 

that 10c have brought Bills into the Parliaments avoid it 

•when doubt 

of this country and of New South Wales to exists as 
obtain these objects ; * and that our critics and death. 
opponents have done nothing to diminish or 
prevent the dangers they allege to attend on 
cremation, and which do largely appertain to 
burial, while they have actually voted in 
majorities to prevent us from doing so. Had 
the practice of cremation in our own country 
not been conducted thus far by cautious hands, 
the abuse in question might have arisen. But 

* House of Commons, April, 1884; Legislative Assembly of 
Sydney, August, 1886. 


Modem Cremation. 

that they have not occurred is due to us, not to 
our opponents. 
s a /cty at- The proposals here conceived to be necessary 
Mimuing to ensure the safety of the public, regarding 
equally dangers innumerable arising from the 
buried dead and the occasional risk of destroy- 
ing evidence against crime by cremation, are as 
follows : — 
i. Reject ait First. I desire to act on the principle that 

doubtful til 

cases. we shall reject all doubtful cases as unsuited for 

cremation. It will soon be seen that the limit 
of this class may be provided for without 
difficulty by way of exclusion, and that it will 
be ascertained by proper management to be 
exceedingly small. 

Secondly. My first definite proposal will be 
as follows ; and here for the present the appeal 
is made not for legal provision, but to the 
common sense of my fellow-citizens, who cannot 
be less desirous than myself to guard the health 
of their families from disease and death, seeing 
that this is our common interest. 

Consent to cremate the body of every mem- 
ber of the family who has died of small-pox, 

T^tu" scarlet fever ' or diphtheria, to begin with. 

diseases- General acquiescence in this reasonable pro- 
posal alone would tax somewhat severely for 

a urge some years the resources of cremation. Yet 

** here is a large and most important group of 

2. Cremate 
the bodies 
of those 

Modern Cremation. 127 

cases which, in common justice to the living, 
ought to be destroyed with as much rapidity as 
possible, and about which no manner of doubt 
as to the cause of death can possibly be enter- 
tained. Honest, thoughtful consideration as to 
the mode of treating that which remains in most 
instances after the destructive action of such 
diseases on the body must diminish the desire 
to preserve it, and reconcile survivors to its puri- 
fication and reduction to harmless ashes, when 
these are followed to the last resting-place. 
Concerning which more hereafter. 

But I interpolate a suggestion here; and it /aaiisuch 
is one which must ere long be considered with a ZIZs'* 
view to legislative enactment. It ought to be ^'',"wl 
made imperative that in every one of these cau »' cr '" :i 


cases, when not cremated, the coffin should he. should be 
filled, after the body is placed therein, with unless 
quicklime, not longer than twenty-four hours ZJrJctLi. 
after death. Less perfect than cremation, this 
process at least ought to be enjoined under 
penalty. It will rank as a national folly, if not 
a crime, to omit this or an equivalent safeguard 
after due warning given of the importance of 
protecting the living ; since there can be no 
difficulty in resorting to this mode of largely 
diminishing, although not of extinguishing, the 
risk from infection. 

Thirdly. In all other cases, such as those of 


Modem Cremation. 

3. In all 
should be 

4. In doubt' 
ful iases 
autopsy is 
necessary ; 

by which 
means the 

old age, consumption, and various other modes 
of death, which have gradually arrived at their 
termination under medical supervision without 
manifesting a symptom to denote the action of 
any violent agent, an application to be cremated 
should be granted on the conditions prescribed 
by the Cremation Society of England (already 
detailed). When a responsible officer, "Ex- 
aminer into the cause of death," is appointed, 
the decision will of course form part of his ordi- 
nary business. As before intimated, I have 
charged myself with the duty, on behalf of the 
English society as its president, of carefully 
examining the certificates sent in and other 
sources of information, and no cremation has 
taken place until I have been satisfied with the 
evidence adduced. 

Fourthly. In every case in which evidence is 
wanting, one of two courses is open to the 
applicant. If there really is any doubt as to 
the cause of death, it is a case in which, accord- 
ing to the present state of our law, the coroner 
ought to interfere. If he thinks that it is not 
necessary to do so, the responsible officer may 
say, as I should feel called on to say now, if 
circumstances suggested the want of more dis- 
tinct evidence, " I advise an autopsy to be made, 
and will send a proper person to conduct one." 
In that case the doubt will almost certainly be 

Modem Cremation. 129 

solved ; but if not, the stomach and a portion oi guest-on is 
some internal organ would be transferred to a "settled; 
small case, sealed, and preserved. This is a 
proceeding I suggested and strongly advised, as 
a complete safeguard against destroying evi- 
dence of poison by cremation, when I first 
advocated it in 1874.* And doubt after autopsy 
could be entertained only in an extremely small 
proportion of cases. If the friends object to the i/mt, bury 
proposal, let the body be buried by all means ; 
we have avoided the doubtful case. 

Moreover, we have done so without raising an 
imputation. If any arise, it is solely due to the 
action of those who have declined a private 
autopsy requested by the officer responsible for 
cremation, who merely desired to avoid the 
faintest chance of applying the process to a 
body when the cause of death is not quite ap- 
parent. It is difficult to imagine an objection to 
such a proceeding ; but if there is, as I said 
before, the cemetery is always open. 

What has become of the medico-legal diffi- Theobjec- 

iii ■ 1 J tion, to 

culty? I contend that it has absolutely vanished, cremation 
And I add that, if my suggestions are adopted, ^2"Li 
secret poisoning, which it must be confessed, *«»««». 
owing to our carelessness in the matter of the 
certificate, is much more practicable in this 
country than in France or German)', would, 

* See Part II. p. 103. 


i ;o 

Modern Cremation. 



would save 


of acres 
/or pro- 
fit a hie 

Husbandry t 

so impor- 
tant in a 

i rowded 

The Bishop 

of Man- 

I /tester's 

thanks to the supporters of cremation, be more 
readily detected, and therefore would be more 
unlikely to occur, than in any other country in 
the world. 

Three results of another kind must be named, 
which naturally follow the adoption of cremation. 

First. Thousands of acres, yearly increasing 
in number, might be restored to better uses than 
that of becoming the mere receptacle of decay- 
ing bodies.* Action to this end will be in- 
evitable some day, and is simply a question of 
time and population. The late Bishop of Man- 
chester drew attention to this obvious fact some 
years ago. Having in the course of duty to 
consecrate a cemetery, the Bishop observed, 
" Here is another hundred acres of land with- 
drawn from the food-producing area of this 
country for ever." He went on to state that 
•' cemeteries are becoming not only a difficulty, 
an expense, and an inconvenience, but an actual 
danger ;" finally adding, " I hold that the earth 
was made, not for the dead, but for the living. 
No intelligent faith can suppose that any 
Christian doctrine is affected by the manner in 
which, or the time in which, this mortal body of 
ours crumbles into dust and sees corruption." 

* The number of acres at present thus occupied for the 
metropolis is upwards of two thousand ; and the value of this 
unproductive land is considerably more than a quarter of a 
million sterling. 

Modern Cremation. 131 

A small but sufficient portion of our present 
cemeteries will no doubt be utilized for the 
purposes of cremation ; the chapels being 
utilized still as before, and certain spaces re- 
served for the conservation or burial of ashes. 
Nine-tenths of the area will be available, with 
due care, for ornamental gardens for the use of 
towns where such exist ; or, after the lapse of 
suitable periods of time, for other purposes. 

Secondly. The reduction of wholly unneces- 
sary expenditure upon funeral rites is accom- 
plished by cremation. The cost of funerals cremation 
during the year 18S4 in England and Wales was ^Xc«w« 
carefully calculated by an expert at nearly five ""'^ 

1 J funerals. 

millions sterling. One-third of this sum would 
amply suffice for cremation, including the use 
of appointments for transit, etc., in the most 
decorous manner. Modern cremation does not 
suggest or harmonize with display. Small as 
the cost is at present, it will be largely diminished 
when the demand has considerably increased. 
A tariff of expenditure, regulated according to 
the varying requirements of applicants, has been 
recently drawn up, and may be obtained at the 
office of the society.* 

Thirdly. Cremation has created an oppor- Cremation 

r ... - r j ■ r ■* enables ike 

tumty tor restoring the punned remains of the ancient 
Christian worshipper to the consecrated precincts ch 
* See Tart IV. p. 136. 

I Z2 

Modern Cremation. 


to be 

again : 

which by 
order of th\ 
could be 
reopenei t 

of his church, whence the "corruptible body" 
has now for many years been banished by urgent 
sanitary necessity. 

Whether in ancient crypt, or in cloisters newly 
erected for the purpose on the long disused 
burying-ground, the ashes of cremated bodies 
might be deposited, each in its cell, in countless 
numbers after religious service performed. Being 
absolutely harmless, every intramural burying- 
ground and every vault or tomb within our 
churches, long closed to burials on account of 
their dangerous influence, ma}- now be safely 
and appropriately utilized as depositories of the 
ashes, when the last solemnities have taken 
place. It is high time to bring this important 
fact under the notice of the Secretary of State ; 
for there is now no pretext whatever for refusing 
to localities — long ago consecrated for the ex- 
press purpose of receiving human remains, and 
recently closed on urgent sanitary grounds 
alone — the restitution of their ancient service, 
provided that all future deposits are absolutely 
deprived of any and every offensive or injurious 
taint by complete incineration. 

On the other hand, when no desire is mani- 
fested to preserve the relics of the departed, and 
no urn or casket is sought to contain them, they 
may be safely spread abroad on the soil, and 
thus be submitted without delay to the process 

Modern Cremation. 133 

of forming those new combinations which must 
inevitably sooner or later take place. 

Cremation, indeed, lends literal truth and Cremation 

, » * illustrates 

reality to the grand and solemn words, Ashes our ancient 
to ashes, dust to dust;" and the impressive «™«, and 
service so well known to us all, may, with very "ft* to the 

' * " J force 0/ lis 

slight change,* be read with a fulness of mean- sentiment 
ing never conveyed before. The last rite has 
purified the body ; its elements of physical evil 
have been annihilated by fire. Already its dis- 
persed constituents, having escaped the long 
imprisonment of the tomb, pursue their eternal 
circuit, in harmony with nature's uniform and 
perfect course. 

In connection with this wide subject, the dis- Amplication 
posal of the dead, whether it be by burial or by me»t 
cremation, I cannot too strongly urge that the " ; 
Government be solicited to consider the question 
of legislating in order to secure better evidence 
as to the cause of death in all cases than is 
attainable by the present system. At the same 
time, the conditions on which cremation should 

* I have heard the following passage, " We therefore com- 
mit his body to the ground,'' read " We therefore commit his 
body to its rest," over the remains before cremation, and the 
effect appeared to me harmonious and appropriate. If read 
over the ashes, after cremation, perhaps the word " remains — 
to their rest,'' might lie properly substituted for "body to the 


Modern Cremation. 


for the 
of death, 
and man- 
of cre- 
burial or 

in every 
ease of 

who cer- 
tifies the 
cause or 
an inquest 

A U crema- 
tories to he 
licensed by 


be performed should be considered and deter- 

I venture to offer the following suggestions 
by way of indicating the chief provisions to be 
settled by any Bill introduced into Parliament 
to regulate the registration of death and the dis- 
posal of the dead : — 

i. No body to be buried, burned, or otherwise 
disposed of without a medical certificate of death 
signed, after personal knowledge and observa- 
tion, or by information obtained after inves- 
tigation made by a qualified medical man. 

2. A qualified medical man should be ap- 
pointed as official certifier in every parish, or 
district of neighbouring parishes, whose duty it 
will be to examine in all cases of death and 
report the cause in writing, together with such 
other details as may be deemed necessary. 

3. If the circumstances of death obviously 
demand a coroner's inquest, the case is to be 
transferred to his court and the cause deter- 
mined, with or without autopsy. If there appears 
to be no ground for holding an inquest, and 
autopsy be necessary to the furnishing of a 
certificate, the official certifier will make it, and 
state the result in his report. 

4. No person or company should be hence- 
forth permitted to construct or use an apparatus 
for burning human bodies without obtaining 

Modern Cremation. 135 

a licence from the Home Secretary or other 
authority as determined. 

5. No crematory should be so employed unless None to be 
the site, construction, and system of manage- 'Zinilftn- 
ment have been approved after survey by an '%%%£' 
officer appointed by Government for the purpose. sni i ect 
But the licence to construct or use a crematory 
should not be withheld if guarantees are given 

that the conditions required are or shall be com- 
plied with. All such crematories to be subject 
at all times to inspection by an officer appointed 
by the Government. 

6. The burning of a human body, otherwise Cremation 
than in an officially recognized crematory, shall iUip & 
be illegal, and punishable by penalty. 

7. No human body shall be burned unless the Nocnma- 

~ r . , . . . , . r r Hon without 

official examiner who signs the certificate of official 
death shall, in consequence of application made, ^ r ' 
add the words "Cremation permitted." And 
this he will be bound to do if, after due inquiry, 
with or without autopsy or coroner's inquest, 
he is satisfied, and can certify that the deceased 
has died from natural causes, and not from ill- 
treatment, poison, or violence. 


MATION Society of England— method 
of procedure in investigating the 
cause of death in france. 

THE official papers of the Cremation Society 
embody practical directions relating to the course 
necessary to be followed by the friends or repre- 
sentatives of the deceased for whom cremation 
is desired, together with copies of the forms 
which must be filled up. These are supplied to 
all who require them at the offices of the society, 
8, New Cavendish Street, Portland Place. 

After these follow copies of the forms, setting 
forth the mode of procedure adopted through- 
out France, in order to ascertain the cause of 
death in every instance without exception. A 
similar inquiry is made in Germany. 

The Council: 

tapes President. 

issued by the 

cremation Right Hon. Lord Bramwcll. 

Society of 

England. James S. luiclgett, Esq. 

Modern Cremation. i 3 7 

Dr. Cameron, M.P. 

Mrs. M. Rose Crawshay. 

Dr. Farquharson, M.P. 

Captain Sir Douglas Galton, K.C.B., LL.D., 

Ernest Hart, Esq. 

Rev. H. R. Haweis, M.A. 

Rev. Brooke Lambert, M.A. 

Right Hon. Sir Lyon Playfair, K.C.P>.,M.P,etc. 

W. Robinson, Esq., F.L.S. 

Martin Ridley Smith, Esq. 

Rev. Charles Voysey, B.A. 

Sir T. Spencer Wells, Bart. 

Honorary Secretary: J. C. Swinburne-Han- 
ham, Esq., J. P., Barrister-at-Law. 

Solicitors: Messrs. Harrison and Beale. 

Architect : E. F. C. Clarke, Esq. 

Consulting Chemists : Messrs. Newlands Bros. 

Bankers: Messrs. Sir Samuel Scott, Bart, 
and Co. 

Auditor: Mr. A. D. Pocknell. 

Offices : 8, New Cavendish Street, Portland 
Place, London, W. 


This society was formed to promote the injects 0/ 
objects set forth in the following declaration : — 

"We disapprove the present custom of burying the dead, and 
desire to substitute some mode which shall rapidly resolve the 

1 7.8 Modern Crematu 



body into its component elements by a process which cannot 
offend the living, and shall render the remains absolutely 
innocuous. Until some better method is devised, we desire 
to adopt that usually known as cremation." 

The conditions of membership are — ■ 

I. Adhesion by signature to the above declara- 

II. The payment of an annual subscription of 
one guinea, or a single payment often guineas. 


General Instructions. — The crematorium, 
which is the only one in use in England, is 
situated in the parish of St. John's, two and a 
quarter miles from Woking station on the main 
line of the London and South Western Railway, 
which is in communication with all the railway 
systems having termini in London. In the 
event of a body having to be brought from a 
distance, any of the companies will provide a 
special carriage on the usual notice being given, 
and convey direct to Woking, where the use of 
a hearse can be obtained for conveyance to the 

The buildings comprise a handsome chapel, 
communicating with which are the crematorium 
and comfortable waiting and retiring rooms. 
The lodge at the entrance to the grounds is 
occupied by the society's attendant, who will 
show inquirers over the premises, daily between 

Modern Cremation. 139 

ten and five, unless a cremation is proceeding 
or about to take place. 

The arrangements for cremating a body are 
available to the public on the following con- 

1. An application in writing must be made by the executor Conditions 

or nearest friend of the deceased — unless it has been on -which 
made by the deceased person himself during life — "'"""t'" 1 
stating that it was the wish of the deceased to be j h , r f or ,„ cl i. 
cremated after death, or that he entertained no objection 

2. Two certificates from duly qualified medical men are 

required relative to the cause of death, one, at least, 
of whom must have attended the deceased. These the 
society obtain direct, and it is therefore necessary, in 
making application for cremation, that their names ami 
addresses be given in full. 

These must satisfy the council of the society 
or their representative, and in some rare or 
doubtful case an autopsy might be desirable. 


Directions for arranging Cremation. 
— Immediately on death, notice thereof, with 
the names and addresses of the two medical 
men, should be sent to the office of the society 
[8, New Cavendish Street, Portland Place, W.], 
the address of which can be found in the London 
Directory, or a letter or telegram addressed to 
the Cremation Society, London, W., will be at 
once forwarded to the office by the postal 
authorities, after which the local undertaker 

140 Modern Cremation. 

should be instructed to supply a suitable shell — 
the best material being light pine. 
No heavy It cannot be too clearly understood that it is 

"ud." most undesirable to encase the body in a heavy 
or costly coffin ; A LIGHT PINE SHELL IS THE 
MATION. There is no reason why, for the 
funeral service, a simple shell should not suffice, 
and it may be covered with cloth at very small 
expense, if preferred. When, however, it is 
intended to hold a funeral service in public, and 
with some degree of ceremony, before crema- 
tion, a more ornate coffin may be used if desired, 
but it should contain the shell described, which 
can be afterwards removed. 
Form of Upon receiving notice of the death, the appli- 

application* . r . r 

cation-form is sent to be filled in by the executor 
or the nearest relative of deceased, and this 
should be returned to the society with the sum 
of £6, the charge for the cremation, services of 
attendant, use of chapel and waiting-room, as 
well as a simple urn for the preservation of the 
ashes. At the same time the applicant must 
state if it be desired that the local clergyman 
(who has kindly consented to act when desired) 
should officiate at the funeral service in the 
chapel, as, in the event of his services being 
required, a fee of one guinea must be paid to 
him direct at the time. Any other person 

Modern Cremation. 141 

appointed by the friends may take the service 
if preferred. 

In the mean time, our form of medical certifi- The medical 
catc has been sent to the medical attendant of 
the deceased, who, after filling in and signing it, 
must forward it to the other medical practitioner, 
and each receives express instructions in rela- 
tion to his duty. If the latter is also satisfied 
that the statements made relative to the cause 
of death are correct, and that there are no 
circumstances likely to render exhumation of 
the body necessary, he will certify to that effect. 

The cremation, if the death has occurred in 
London or the suburbs, usually takes place on 
the third day after the day on which notice is 
given at the society's office. If the remains are 
lying in the country, the cremation would take 
place a day later. 

The most convenient times for cremation arc 
as follows : — 

Train leave Waterloo. Hour for Cremation. 

9.30 a.m. 11 a.m. 

11.45 a - nl - '-J P' m ' 

2.45 p.m. - - 4.15 p.m. 

Upon the arrival of the body at the crema- 
torium, if there is a funeral service, it is at once 
proceeded with, at the conclusion of which the 
undertaker and his assistants convey the re- 
mains into the crematorium, where they may 

The urn 
and its 

142 Modern Cremation. 

be followed by one friend of the deceased ; but 

Noiiupec- no inspection of the process is on any account 

'/•mess permitted. The operation usually occupies 

termiittd. a b out onc hour anc | a half to two hours, at the 

conclusion of which the ashes are gathered 

together by the society's officer and placed in 

an urn for preservation. Scrupulous care is 

taken to maintain them intact and pure for this 


The urn containing the ashes may be left in 
one of the niches in the chapel for one calendar 
month from the date of the cremation, free of 
charge, to enable the friends to secure a suitable 
permanent resting-place ; if it be left beyond that 
time, a fee of five shillings per month is required, 
but the society will not be responsible for it 
beyond one year from the date of cremation, 
unless special arrangements for permanent 
deposit there are made. 

For this purpose the society has provided 
ornamental stone niches, constructed within the 
building, which can be acquired, according to 
their size, as a " single tomb '' or " family vault," 
and is about to provide increased space, for the 
purpose of preserving the ashes. 

The price charged for these niches can be 
obtained on inquiry at the office. 

For those who desire the ashes to be buried 
in the grounds of the crematorium, a special 

Modern Cremation. 143 

portion has been railed off and cultivated, in May be 
which an urn can be buried for the fee of or\Q i " ried i n "' c 


guinea, within a given space, and preserved 


This Form is prepared to enable those Form/or 
who prefer cremation to burial to record in "^[re'tfie 
precise terms their wishes and directions in cm " at ' d - 
relation thereto. 

This form should be signed, dated, and wit- 
nessed, in duplicate. One copy should be 
deposited with the signer's executor, or next 
of kin, and the other sent to the Secretary of 
the Cremation Society of England, by 
whom it will be preserved and regarded as con- 

I hereby express to my survivors my earnest desire that on my 
decease, my body shall be cremated according to the system em- 
ployed by the Cremation Society of England, and under 
tlie arrangements made by the Society for the purpose. 




Witnessed by 




N.B. — // should be borne in mind that the above is only a 
request, and cannot be enforced against any person. It is there- 
fore very necessary that the executor or executors should, at the 
same time, express their willingness to carry these instructions 


. riination 

after death 

144 Modern Cremation. 


Payment ATTENTION IS CALLED to the following 

duringii/e "Minute of Council" which has been recently 

to ensure J 

passed : — 

" In the event of any person desiring, during life, to be cre- 
mated at death, the Society is prepared to accept a donation 
from him or her, of Ten Guineas, undertaking in consideration 
thereof to perform the cremation, provided all the conditions 
set forth in the forms issued by the Society are complied with." 

In consideration of the above payment the 
Cremation Society undertakes — on the decease 
of a subscriber — also to send an agent when 
required, without further charge, to the family 
residence, if within twenty miles of Charing 
Cross, for the purpose of supplying information 
and making all the necessary arrangements. 
By this means survivors, who may naturally 
anticipate considerable difficulty in complying 
with the request on the part of the deceased to 
be cremated, may be spared all trouble and 
anxiety as to the manner of carrying it into 
execution. When the distance is more than 
twenty miles, information will be supplied by 
letter, or an agent sent for a very moderate 

All necessary forms, ready fur filling up, can be 
obtained on application at the Society's offices, No. S, 
New Cavendish Street, Portland Place, W. 

J. C. Swinburne-Haniiam, 

Hon. Sec. 

January, 1891. 

Modern. Cremation. 145 


FORM No. 1. 


I, (Name) 


(Occupation) hereby request 

the Cremation Society of England to undertake the cre- 
mation of the body of 

and I certify that the deceased expressed no objection 
(orally or in writing) to being cremated after death. 

Medical certificates of the cause of death are, or will 
be, forwarded. 


Important. — This form, when filled in, is to be 

returned to the Office of the Cremation Society, the 

address of the medical man who has attended the 

deceased being required as soon as possible. 

NOTE. — When no medical certificate is enclosed, an 

autopsy must be made and certified by a medical 

officer appointed by the Society, and at the expense 

of the applicant or of the estate of the deceased. 


1 4 6 

Modern Cremation. 





















































— y jT 









e -5 



£ 8 
H .5 

Modern Cremation. 


>. <u -2 

-a "j; o ,s 

i- _ ~ 

« & -n 

rt 13 4) 

~ £ u 

'" rt <u 

d S 9 

■3J3q USlS [[IAV uujy 













rt j5 















148 Modern Cremation. 


Connected with the conveyance of a body from London 
— that is to say. from any part not distant more than 
four miles from Charing Cross — to the Crematory, 

£ * d. 

For a pine shell with ordinary lining ... 1 10 o 

N.B. — More expensive shells and coffins can be 

provided, but the Society strongly recommends the 
simplest form for the purpose of cremation only. 

When required for service in church also, it may 
be covered in black, or colour, from two guineas 
upwards. An ornate coffin may be employed for 
this purpose, provided the body occupi.s a shell, to 
be removed for cremation afterwards. 

Delivery of shell at residence within limit"! 

... , f o 1 5 o 

named, with attendants ... ... ...' 


Hearse, driver, and man in charge from the-i 
residence to Woking, about thirty miles) 

Men's attendance at residence, to place body! 
in hearse, if required ... ... ...' 

N.B. — If the shell is sent and the body is re- 
moved to the hearse at the same time, this charge is 
not incurred. 

£ 8 10 

If the hearse and horses are sent by rail- 

which saves much time, and is often con-i 
venient for those who desire to attend — J 
including one man besides the driver, an \ 
extra guinea is incurred ' 

Modern Cremation. 149 

£ s. a. 

For each additional man to the above named\ 
for removing the body at Woking, as may ( 
be necessary, whether sent by road or( 
rail ... ... ... ... ... ...' 

N.B. — The above-named terms are those charged 
by well-known firms of undertakers at the Weit 
End of London. 

Offices of the Cremation Society of England 
8, New Cavendish Street, Portland Place. 

1 50 Modem Cremation. 


and invariably filled up by ihc officers appointed, in 
every case of death occurring either in Paris or in 
the Departments before buiial or cremation is 

Form No. 1 is bent by the municipal authority to the 
official medical examiner, requiring him to verify the fact 
of the cause of death. 

Form No. 2 is the certificate which, after examination 
of the body, the medical examiner leaves with the family, 
who send it to the municipal authority. Permission to 
bury can then be obtained. 

Form No. 3 is the record which is made by the medical 
examiner and preserved by the authorities. 

Alodciu Cremation. 

I Si 




















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Modern Cremation. 



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Modem Cremation. 





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rn Cremation. 


Service de la 


N u DE l'acte: 

POKM No. 3. 





A remplir en mC-me temps que le certincat dc visite, et a 
deposer a la Maine 

Nota. — Le medecin de l'Etat civil pent biffer les mots con- 
traires au cas qu'il a sous les yeux, ou ecrire oui ou faire line 
croix apres le mot confoimc. 11 est prie d'ecrire le nom de la 
profession exercee, en faisant suivre ce nom d'un o, s'il s'agit d'un 
ouvrier, ou d'un/, s'il s'agit d'un patron, et aussi de mettre un 
.r a la suite des questions auxquelles il ne pent repondre. Le 
degre de salubrite est apprictt et noil demand'-. 

Mois d 



Sexe du decede 



Date ou duree du manage _ 
S Veuf et depuis quand ?_ 

Age de_ 

Departement ct 

Date du deces : le 

u / Quartier 

1 I Rue 

§ I etage. 

-du mois d_ 


- insalubre 

Modern Cremation. 155 

' Nombre d'enfants morts et vi- 

vants issus du mariage 

Nombre d'enfants survivants 

Oncle et niece 

Tante et neveu 


a ° 

M ~ ~ 

Cousins eermams 

*■ M -c "■ Issus de cousins germams_ 

r , , , , , I patrc 
Du decede < 

t. ouvr: 


w J „ ,, . . f palron_ 

jU •, De 1 epoux survivant < 

I ouvner_ 

Du pere (patron, ouvrier) 

, De la mere (patronne, ouvriere) 

^ r~ j interne 

W'~ \ cxterne 

un lycee_ 
§ £; I un college 

u ^Z i une ecole communale- 


fa \ une ecole libre 

Addresse de l'institution : 
I Rue ■ 


Vaccine non vaccine- 


Sexe du decede 

Legitime illegitime_ 

par le pere. 



Non reconnu- 

Age de 

Ne a 

I par le pere 
\ par la mei 

v Departement d 

Date du deces ; le du mois d_ 

Quartier — 



A I Salubre insalubre_ 

156 Modern Cremation. 

■j~- 3 

<u o 

H M 

All Seill 

Au biberon _ 

Par allaitement mixte 

Par la mere 

Dans la famille par line 

^ ~ nourrice 

— I Ilurs ile la famille 

En r ant garde dans la famil 

La creche 

La salle d'asile 

-r g I La garderie on ecole enfantine — 

Adresse de la r&idence hors de la famille 

- I. Rue " 

£ I , . ( Du perc (patron, oiivriei ) 
u Profession ) _ . . , ,„. 
xj \ De la mere (pal" , 

| 1IOU '"' u "\Delamere( 1 .at-, ouv"). 

Dn pere- 

De la mere 


'H.'s j . Oncle el niece 

_H Dcgre j Xante et neveu 



• j Cousins germains 
1 paienle | & 

(. I Issus de cousins germains. 

Vaccine'_ non vaccine- 

Le decede etait-il premier ne?* 


Sexe _ 

Etat civil : legitime illcgilime 

Date de l'accouchement : le du mois d — 

u I Quartier — 

I Rue 


Salubre insalubre_ 

I _ ( Naturel 

5 s-j5- Artiriciel 

3 ^ § ^ I Avec seigle ergote 

Le i-cnseignement ne duit Stre denumde que pour les enfants au-dessuu= 
(Tun an. 

Modern Cremation. 


Mere : primipare_ 

■3 c 

Dans le famille 

Chez une sage-femme . 
Chez un medecin 


Autre: (Hopital, prison, 
hOtel meuble, voie pub- 
lique, etc.) 

Puree de la gestation 

A respire pendant 

N'a pas respire 

X tfi 

-. in 

a ^-8 a 

£3 st; 

?5 .§ 

f j Encore vivant. 

Gallon < Decede 

I Mort-ne 








= . 



Encore vivante 




Garcon < Decede. 



Mort-ne — 
Decedee - 

' , I Du pere (patron, ouvner) 

Profession < ^ , 

l De la 1 













. mere (pat'"', ouv rl ')_ 

1 Du pere 

\ De la mere- 

Oncle et niece- 

Tante et neveu- 
Cousins germains_ 

■M-t^.3 f parente ^ i ssus de cousins germains- 
Duree du manage (en annees) 

Y a-t-il eu un I Nom et sexe. 

accoucheur \ Domicile — 

Maladie cause de niort — 
Correspondant au numero- 
au verso). 

-de la nomenclature (Voyez 


tte maladie a-t-elle ete | ( 



I ;8 Modern Cremation. 

Accidents terminaux- 

Y a-t-il eu operation chirurgicale ? 

Xom et domicile dvt medecin traitant 

Le traitement a-t-il ete erfectue par le service des secours a 

domicile ? . 

Fait a Paris, le_ . iS , a 

heme rlu 

Cachet de la Maine Lt mldecin dt I'Etat civil, 

Lt Main dn r arrondisstment, 

The following schedule gives a very complete list of 
the various maladies or injuries among which the cause 
of death may in almost any case be found ; the number 
corresponding thereto is employed to denote it in the 
record. Form No. 3 : — 




1. Fievre typhoidc. 

2. Typhus. 

3. Scorbut. 

4. Variole. 

5. Rougeolc. 

6. Scarlatinc. 

7. Coqueluche. 

S. Diphterie ct croup. 
9. Grippe. 

10. Suette miliaire. 

11. Cholera asiatique. 

12. Cholera nostras. 

13. Autres. 

Modem Cremation. 




Infection purulente et septicemic. 






Pustule malignc et charbon. 




Fievre intermittente. 


Cachexie palustre. 



'a. des poumons. 

/'. des meninges. 



c. du peritoine. 

d. d'autres organes. 

e. generalisee. 





77. de la bouche. 

b. de I'estomac, du foie. 

c. des intestins, du rectum. 



d. de l'uterus. 
c. du sein. 

f. de la peau. 

g. autres. 






Diabete (suae). 


Goitre cxophtalmique. 


Maladie bronzee d' Addison. 




Anemie, chlorose. 


Autres maladies generales. 


Alcoolisme (aigu ou chronique). 


Intoxications professionnelles. 


Absorption de gaz deleteres (suicide excepte 


Autres < 


i^onnements (suicide excepte). 

i6o Modern Cremation. 



38. Encephalite. 

39. Meningite simple. 

40. Ataxie locomotrice progressive. 

41. Atrophic musculaire progressive. 

42. Congestion et hemorrhagic cerebrates, 

43. Ramollissement cerebral. 

44. Paralysies sans cause indiquee. 

45. Paralysie gencrale. 

46. Autres formes de l'alienation mentale. 

47. Epilepsie. 

48. Eclampsie (non puerperale). 

49. Convulsions des enfants. 

50. Tetanos. 

51. Choree. 

52. Autres maladies du systeme nerveux. 

53. Maladies des yeux, 

54. Maladies des oreilles. 


55. Tericardite. 

56. Endocardite. 

57. Maladies organiques du cceur. 

58. Angine de poitrine. 

59. Affection des arteres, atherome, gangrene seche, anev- 

risme, etc. 

60. Embolic. 

61. Varices, ulceres variqueux, hemorrhoides. 

62. Phlebite et autres affections des veines. 

63. Lymphangite. 

64. Autres affections du systeme lymphatique. 

65. Hemorrhagies. 

66. Autres affections de l'appareil circulatoire. 


67. Maladies des fosses nasales. 

68. Affection du larynx ou du corps thyroi'de. 



8 4 . 



l'estomac I 

Modern Cremation. 1 6 1 

69. Bronchite aigue. 

70. Bronchite chronique. 

71. Broncho-pneumonie. 

72. Pneumonic 

73. Pleuresie. 

74. Congestion et apoplexie pulmonaires. 

75. Gangrene du poumon. 

76. Asthme. 

77. Autres. 


78. Affections de la bouche et de l'arriere-bouche. 

79. Affections du pharynx et de l'oesophage. 

I . _ .. , (Ulcere de l'estoniac. 

80. Affections de . „ , „ . . 
\ Autres anections de 1 estomac (cancer 


(Diarrhee infantile, athrepsie. 

I Diarrhee et entente. 

Affections de J Dysenteric 

l'intestin .Parasites intestinaux. 

Hernies, obstructions intestinales. 

l.Autres affections de l'intestin. 

Ictere grave. 

Tumeurs hydatiques. 


Calculs biliaires. 

92. j (Autres affections du foic 

93. Peritonite inflammatoire (puerperale exceptee). 

94. Autres affections de l'appareil digestif. 

95. Phlegmon de la fosse iliaque. 


96. Nephrite. 

97. Maladie de Bright. 

98. Perinephrite et abces perinephrique. 

99. Calculs renaux, 

100. Autres maladies des reins et annexes. 

101. Calculs vesicaux. 

102. Maladies de la vessie. 

103. Maladies de l'uretre (abces urineux, etc.). 

104. Maladies de la prostate. 


Affections du 

1 62 Modern Cremation. 

105. Maladies du testicule. 

106. Metro-peritonite. 

107. Abces du bassin. 

108. Hematocele peri-uterine. 

109. \ (Metrite. 

no. [Maladies dejllemorrhagies (non puerperales). 
in. I l'lite'rus j Tumeurs (non cancereuses). 

112. J (Autres maladies. 

113. Kystes et autres tumeurs de l'ovaire. 

1 14. Autres maladies des organes genitaux. 

1 15. Maladies non puerperales de la mamelle (cancer excepte). 


1 16. Accidents de la grossesse. 

117. llcinnrrliagie puerperale. 

1 iS. Autres accidents de l'accouchement. 

119. Septicemic puerperale. 

120. Metroperitonite puerperale. 

121. Kclampsie puerperale. 

122. Phlegmutia alba dolens puerperale. 

123. Autres accidents puerpcraux. — Mort subitc. 

124. Maladies de la mamelle puerpe ; rales. 


125. Erysipele. 

126. Gangrene. 

127. Anthrax. 

128. Phlegmon, abces chaud. 

129. Autres maladies de la peau et de ses annexes (cancer 



130. Maladie de Pott. 

131. Abces froid et par congestion. 

132. Fractures. 

133. Autres affections des os. 

1 34. Luxations. 

135. Tumeurs blanches. 

136. Autres maladies des articulations. 

137. Amputation. 

138. Autres affections des organes de la locomotion. 

Modern Cremation. 



139. Debilite congenitale, ictere et sclereme. 

140. Vices de conformation. 

141. Defaut de soins. 

142. Autres. 

N" 12. — VIELLESSE. 

143. Debilite senile. 




■a. Par le poison. 
/'. Par asphyxie. 

c. Par strangulation. 

d. Par submersion. 

144. Suicide^. Par amies a feu. 

\f. Par instruments trenchants. 
\g. Par precipitation. 
\h. licrasement. 
V. Autres. 

145. Traumatisme accidentel. 

146. Brulure. 

147. Insolation et congelation. 

148. Inanition. 

149. Autres. 








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editions OK 



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Salar. My wind, cooling my broth, 

Would blow me to an ague, when I thought 
What harm a wind too great might do at sea. 
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run 
But I should think of shallows and of flats, 
And see my wealthy Andrew, dock'd in sand, 
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs 
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church 
And see the holy edifice of stone, 
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks, 
Which touching but my gentle vessel's side, 
Would scatter all her spices on the stream, 
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks, 
And, in a word, but even now worth this. 
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought 
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought 
That such a thing bechanc'd would make me sad ? 
But tell not me : I know Antonio 
Is sad to think upon his merchandise. 

Ant. Believe me, no : I thank my fortune for it, 
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, 
Nor to one place ; nor is my whole estate 
Upon the fortune of this present year : 
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad. 

Salar. Why, then you are in love. 

Ant. Fie, fie 1 

Salar. Not in love neither ? Then let us say you 
are sad, 
Because you are not merry ; and 'twere as easy 
For you to laugh, and leap, and say you are merry, 
Because yon are not sad. Now, by two-headed 

Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time : 
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes 
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper ; 
And other of such vinegar aspect 

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